As part of efforts to enhance international travel security, Qatar Airways has signed an agreement with INTERPOL to use the world police body’s I-Checkit system to screen the passports of its passengers against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database.
With the agreement, Qatar Airways becomes 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 their clients’ travel document information to be screened against the SLTD database.
Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive of Qatar Airways said, “We viewed INTERPOL’s I-Checkit as an opportunity to further enhance our stringent safety and security measures and are actively working with the organisation 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,”.
Through I-Checkit, partners such as Qatar Airways send the passport numbers of passengers via secure channels to be compared against INTERPOL’s SLTD database, which contains more than 43 million records of lost or stolen travel documents from 168 countries.
INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said, “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.”
The Head of INTERPOL highlighted the tragic disappearance in March 2014 of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the presence of two passengers who used stolen passports to board the flight as a turning point which has caused government officials, terrorism experts, law enforcement, the media and private citizens to take notice of the very real danger presented by individuals travelling on stolen passports.
In this regard, Secretary General Noble 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.