The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) has certified Geneva-based SITA as the first IT provider to receive U.S. government approval to transmit passenger data at check-in.
The Advance Passenger Information Quick Query (AQQ) service allows DHS to vet passenger names against the governments terrorist watch list before aircraft depart, then automatically deliver authority to airlines to issue, or not to issue, boarding passes as each passenger checks in.
As of Feb. 19, DHSs Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires all airlines with international flights that depart from, overfly, or fly to the U.S. to submit passenger and crew manifest data before departure. Airlines can submit data for the entire flight in a batch either at least 30 minutes before the aircraft doors close or by using the new AQQ service.
AQQ allows an airline to send manifest information to CBP as each passenger checks in and to receive an immediate response with a board/no-board instruction. Using AQQ gives airlines greater flexibility by eliminating the operational challenge of creating a complete passenger and crew manifest for the flight 30 minutes before aircraft departure. It also shifts the responsibility of cross-checking manifest data against the terrorist watch list before departure from the airline to CBP. Since this ruling affects more than 180 airlines and 150 million passenger movements, CBPs AQQ service has the potential to reduce flight disruptions and improve passenger service.
AQQ is a form of interactive Advance Passenger Information (iAPI) which was first implemented by SITA for Australia in the late 1990s, followed by Bahrain, Kuwait and New Zealand.