IATA, UNOCT to cooperate on countering terrorist travel

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Alexandre de Juniac, DG/CEO IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) have signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations Countering Terrorist Travel  Programme (CT Travel Programme) to counter terrorist travel.

The memorandum was signed recently by UNOCT Under-Secretary-General Mr. Vladimir Voronkov and Director General and CEO of IATA, Mr. Alexandre de Juniac during a virtual ceremony.

The CT Travel Programme, a flagship global initiative of UNOCT, assists Member States in building their capabilities to detect and counter-terrorists and serious criminals by using advance passenger information (API), passenger name record (PNR), and other passenger data, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 2178 (2014), 2396 (2017), and 2482 (2019) and relevant privacy laws. IATA will join the CT Travel Programme as the first non-government partner of the initiative. 

“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. It symbolises the importance of partnering with the airline industry in establishing passenger data systems and provides a framework for cooperation,” said Mr. Voronkov.

In an “All-of-UN” partnership with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations Office of Information and Communication Technology, and INTERPOL, the Programme comprehensively assists the member states in legislative, operational, transport industry engagement, and technical areas. This includes the donation and deployment of the United Nations goTravel software system. The Programme has been designed in accordance with human rights principles and United Nations policies in this regard.

“Security is a common goal for airlines and governments. 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,” said Mr. de Juniac. 

In the meantime, IATA has announced that its 76th Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place 24 November 2020 as a virtual event and be hosted by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 

All member airlines, invited industry partners/stakeholders and media will be able to participate virtually.

IATA also announced that the World Air Transport Summit (WATS) that accompanies the AGM has been cancelled for 2020. 

“The decision to cancel the in-person AGM has not been taken lightly and in no way is a reflection on the hospitality of the Netherlands, nor our host carrier, KLM. When we postponed this year’s AGM from June until November, it was with the expectation that government restrictions on travel would have been sufficiently eased to enable a physical meeting. That now seems unlikely and alternative plans for a virtual event are being activated,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“This will be one of our most important AGMs. The industry is in the deepest crisis in its history. And it is more important than ever for the industry to have this meeting serve as a rallying call of resilience as we find solutions to safely open borders and re-establish global connectivity, ensure vital cargo lanes; and build a sustainable future from the destruction of the virus,” said de Juniac.

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