Airlines flying to Switzerland from New Delhi, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Muscat and Singapore will soon have to hand over their passenger data to the Swiss authorities.
The State Secretariat for Migration has decided to expand its passenger data list following a risk analysis. Airlines and charter flights already have to hand over data if they are flying from São Paulo, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Beijing and Shanghai, Dubai, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Pristina, Istanbul, Moscow, Casablanca and Marrakesh.
The obligation to report information will enter into force in October or November, the office said on Tuesday. Immediately after take-off, the airlines concerned will be obliged to transmit personal data about travel documents, the airports where the planes took off and will land, and arrival times.
The State Secretariat for Migration hopes this will help improve border controls and contribute to efforts to combat illegal immigration to Switzerland.
The airlines have until August 2 to tell the migration office how they plan to transmit the data, whether they want a test period, and what language they prefer. They must also provide the name of a contact person.
Swiss passengers also concerned
The practice of data collection has existed in Switzerland since 2011. In 2013, the intelligence service checked information coming from 511,000 arrivals.
The migration office shares the information with the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS). Originally, the FIS could only request information about passengers on those flights who were citizens of those listed countries. But in June 2015, the government changed the law following a suggestion by the FIS, so that the data of everyone on board could be transmitted.
Switzerland has been handing over data to the United States and Canada since 2005 about air passengers travelling from its airports to North America. This includes information on the address, hotels, and hire cars of the passenger in question.
swissinfo.ch and agencies