Published On: Tue, Jun 23rd, 2015

Customs dept locks horns with airlines over passenger details

New Delhi: The Customs department has locked horns with the International Airlines over confidential passenger details.

CBEC Chairman Kaushal Srivastava, who is the administrative head of Customs department.

CBEC Chairman Kaushal Srivastava, who is the administrative head of Customs department.

According to a senior Customs official, airlines are not providing information regarding commuters – meaning officials are facing problems in curbing smuggling.

Another issue is that airline staff are not present round-the-clock.

Customs has issued a letter to all International Airlines asking that passengers’ confidential details be provided over the phone whenever they are asked for.

Customs has asked airlines to provide details like a phone number, address, booking ID, mode of booking, and amount of bookings made.

The Sen Times has accessed a copy of the recent letter sent by the department.

“We have asked airlines to provide details over phone as per law. They have to deploy someone in the office all the time as it is in the national interest to curb smuggling,” a senior Customs official said.

“Airlines have been asked to provide details and also depute a staff to answer phone calls and provide relevant details.

“There is not at all a violation of rules in any manner. If airlines refuse to provide details or don’t reply to phone calls, a notice will be issued.”

Meanwhile, airlines are challenging the authority of the Customs department in this regard.

According to sources, the Customs department has to provide a written request that was done earlier for getting information regarding travellers.

On the other hand, an airline official said: “According to guidelines laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), passenger data should be transmitted electronically.

“Agencies shall not require a written declaration of baggage from passenger and crew when no dutiable or restricted goods are being carried.”

According to sources, the Customs department has not given any specific phone number on which their officials will ask for the details.

Leak of data is possible as anyone can call and ask for the detail of a passenger while claiming him/herself to be a Customs official.

TST

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