Iata signs agreement with UN counter-terrorism agency

25th September 2020 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The International Air Transport Association (Iata), the representative body of the global airline industry, and the United Nations (UN) Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) have signed, in a virtual ceremony, a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation in regard to the UN Countering Terrorism Travel Programme (CT Travel programme). The memorandum was signed by Iata director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac and UNOCT Under Secretary General Vladimir Voronkov.

The CT Travel Programme provides assistance to UN member states to create and strengthen capabilities to use passenger data to detect and counter both terrorists and serious criminals. This passenger data includes advanced passenger information (API) and passenger name record (PNR) systems. This is in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 2178 (of 2014), 2396 (2017) and 2482 (2019), plus relevant privacy legislation.

The CT Travel Programme is the flagship programme of UNOCT. It is also an ‘all-of-UN’ programme, involving the UN Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the UN Office of Information and Communication Technology and Interpol. Under the memorandum, Iata will join the initiative, as its first non-governmental member.

“Security is a common goal for airlines and governments,” highlighted De Juniac. “The fundamental responsibility for security is with governments. Airlines help by providing API and PNR traveler data to governments. This contributes to government information gathering in line with global standards on passenger data transmission and in respect of privacy laws. Our collaboration with UNOCT will improve efficiency and increase compliance for this vital information flow. The aim is to curb terrorist mobility. That will make the world a safer place and keep flying secure for all.”

“This memorandum of understanding is a milestone not only for the Countering Terrorist Travel Programme, but for UNOCT as a whole, as this is the first agreement we have concluded with representatives of the private sector,” stressed Voronkov. “It symbolises the importance of partnering with the airline industry in establishing passenger data systems and provides a framework for cooperation.”