Interpol called airlines to establish without delay an international database of passports to prevent further acts of terrorism similar to that of September 11, 2001.
Data sharing could help to detect fraudulent passports easily, said Ronald Noble, secretary general of the police organization, to the General Assembly of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Singapore.
“You must create a database that gathers information on travelers worldwide, ” and record the numbers of stolen passports, “he said.
Mr. Noble noted that one of the perpetrators of September 11, 2001 had entered the US with a stolen passport. But he regretted that the airlines are reluctant to share information on the identity of their customers.
“This problem has existed since 1993 and last year half a million passengers have traveled on international flights without their passports being scrutinized, ” he said. “The industry should concern but it does not seem to do it, ” said Secretary General of the organization based in Lyon (France).
The proposal of Interpol has received a mixed reception by representatives of member airlines of IATA. “I am not in favor of ‘profiling’, ” said one of them to Mr. Noble, emphasizing that violent organizations could use person not listed on blacklists as “mules”.
Elyezer Shkedy, CEO of the Israeli airline El Al, has defended the initiative of Interpol, indicating that it was not asking companies “to share all information “about their customers, but only those necessary to “fight against terrorism. ”
“This is a global problem and to fight in the world, you must carry out checks, ” he added. Based in Geneva, IATA represents 230 airlines accounting for more than 90% of world traffic.