Malaysia’s Air Asia and Doha’s Qatar Airways are the first two airlines to voluntarily join Interpol’s I-Checkit system, which allows airlines and other select partners in the travel, hotel and banking industries to screen the passports of its customers against Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database.
More, if not most, airlines are expected to follow suit.
The database, which started with a few thousand records from 10 countries when it was first set up in in the aftermath of 9/11 in 2002, now contains information on more than 43 million travel documents, including passports, identity documents and visas, reported lost or stolen by 168 countries.
The need for a more thorough and immediate checking system became apparent following the tragedy of flight MH17 in July when it was discovered that two passengers on-board were travelling on stolen passports unnoticed. This obvious security gap created a global public outcry, even though said two passengers had nothing to do with the downing of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine.
Dominic Sebastian Lalk