DOHA: As part of efforts to enhance international travel security, Qatar Airways (QA) has signed an agreement with Interpol to use the global police organisation’s ‘I-Checkit’ system to screen the passports of its passengers against Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database.
In a statement, QA said with the singing of the deal, it has become the first full-service airline to use I-Checkit, joining regional low-cost carrier AirAsia in piloting the Interpol initiative which allows select partners in the travel, hotel and banking industries to send clients’ travel document information to be screened against the database.
Through I-Checkit, partners such as QA send the passport numbers of passengers via secure channels to be compared against the database, which contains more than 43 million records of lost or stolen travel documents from 168 countries.
“After years of waiting for more governments to take the necessary steps to protect their citizens and visitors from individuals using stolen passports to cross borders, I-Checkit has become a vital tool to engage the private sector in the global fight against transnational crime and terrorism,” said Interpol Secretary- General, Ronald K Noble.
He referred to the disappearance in March 2014 of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the two passengers who had used stolen passports to board the flight as a turning point which has caused government officials, terrorism experts, law enforcement, the media and people to take notice of the real danger presented by individuals travelling on stolen passports. the peninsula
“Qatar Airways is proud to become the first international full-service airline to join the Interpol I-Checkit programme. We have always placed great importance on the safety and security of our passengers, in addition to offering them an unrivalled service experience,” said Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive of QA.
“We viewed Interpol’s I-Checkit as an opportunity to further enhance our stringent safety and security measures and are actively working with the Organization to implement the system. Qatar Airways is committed to remaining at the forefront of such Industry initiatives and joining I-Checkit is a reaffirmation of that commitment,” he concluded.
“We are proud to be working diligently with Qatar Airways to put this additional passenger security measure in place. We are confident that once Qatar Airways begins screening the passport numbers of their prospective passengers against Interpol’s SLTD database, each and every person flying with the airline can be secure in knowing that these additional steps to ensure their safety have been taken,” said Interpol Secretary General, Ronald K Noble.
“Nothing short of a coordinated global approach uniting the law enforcement community and private industry via I-Checkit will be sufficient for preventing criminals and terrorists from moving between countries undetected to carry out their illicit activities,” said Noble.
In this regard, the Secretary General applauded the recent decision of the Council of the European Union calling on its member countries to systematically check all passports against Interpol’s SLTD database at their borders, and to ensure their records of lost and stolen passports are promptly shared with Interpol.