10th Aug 2020

EU and US close to air passenger data deal

  • Airlines will continue to forward more than 30 pieces of data, such as dietary requirements and credit card details (Photo: Wikipedia)

The EU and the US are set to sign a deal for sharing air passenger data on Thursday (28 September) - only two days before the existing agreement expires.

A new cross-Atlantic anti-terrorism agreement was needed after the EU's highest court – the European Court of Justice – ruled the current accord illegal but allowed it to be used until September 30.

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The US has accepted the EU's provisional offer of a similar deal but on a different legal basis that would satisfy EU judges, according to press reports.

The negotiators, who held talks via video conference twice last week, will meet in Washington on Thursday said a European Commission spokesman.

"Both parties, whilst being fully aware of the time frame set by the court of justice to reach an agreement by 1 October, are committed to the process within the time frame," the spokesman told the AFP news agency.

The new deal still obliges airlines to forward more than 30 pieces of data – such as credit card details, family links and addresses – to the US authorities 15 minutes before the departure of the flight.

The EU has vowed to quickly begin negotiations on a new framework that may include additional US demands – such as making it easier for intelligence agencies to access the information - and aim to implement them before November 2007, when the new deal expires.

"We will try hard to complete a new deal earlier than November 2007," a senior EU official to the Financial Times. However, many EU governments are sceptical about providing extensive information for intelligence agencies to rummage through.

In the meantime, US authorities have agreed to relax rules on hand luggage from today (26 September) onward, allowing liquids to be carried on board cross-Atlantic flights.

Passengers will be able to carry liquids, lotions and gels onto airliners again after a six-week ban - but only in containers of just under one litre or less and only if they're in clear zip-top plastic bags.

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