Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Checking passport against Interpol database

I read a Yahoo report that Air Asia has decided that they will check the passports of their passengers against the Interpol database of stolen passports.

They claimed to be the first airline to decide on making this check. I think that it should be quite inexpensive to do the live checking, as it can be handled by computer link.

I am disappointed that Singapore Airlines did not make take this decision earlier to be the first airline, and to get mentioned in the international press.

It seems that Air Asia is more "on the ball". Singapore Airlines has missed a chance to show that they are still innovative and ready to respond.

This is how it can be done:

At the time of booking, the passenger has to provide the passport number. As each booking is confirmed, i.e. the ticket is issued, the airline can make a live check against the Interpol database to make sure that the passport is valid. It should be quite easy and inexpensive. If the passport is invalid, the billing will be REJECTED. It should be a SIMPLE PROCESS to build automatically into the system.


Snowy Beagle said...

Mr Tan,

I am disappointed that you chose to mention getting mentioned in the international press as a motivation for Singapore Airlines to "be the first".

Being the first to do anything is not necessarily a good thing.

Having said that, all airline passengers incoming into Singapore and leaving Singapore will have their passport details checked by Singapore's ICA against the Interpol stolen passport DB.

For the airline operating to/from Singapore to do the same is duplicating the work.

Furthermore, if someone actually tries to use a stolen passport to travel, what the authorities want is to catch them in person, which will not happen if the airlines reject their online booking.

Therefore, checking of stolen passports should be done when the traveller is present, and it should be done in the presence of the authorities.

The logical place to conduct this check is at the immigration, not at the airline reservation or check-in.

Kin Lian Tan said...

Singapore Airlines fly to many countries and not just Singapore.

The cost of implementing the check is quite low.

When an opportunity comes to show the airlines to be innovative, it should not be missed.

Kudos to Air Asia.

yujuan said...

Agree with TKL. SIA is an aging old dame, slow in reflexes, unable or unwilling to keep up with changing times.
Just check up its booking websites, can't imagine it's so passe in operation as compared to Jet Star. Ever attend SIA's AGM?
Even its Board of Directors are a bunch of aging, slow witted men, and compare with Qatar Air and the Emirates, SIA really sucks.
What a shame to our National pride.

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