Last month Interpol called on airlines around the world to better utilize Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Document (SLTD) database to help deter people traveling with false identities.
Last month Interpol called on airlines around the world to better utilize Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Document (SLTD) database to help deter people traveling with false identities. The push has come largely due to the recent news that there were two people with stolen passports on the Malaysian flight that disappeared a few months ago. Both of the stolen passports on that flight were listed in Interpol’s SLTD database, causing people to worry just how many fraudsters travel on missing passports without ever getting caught. Additionally, concerns of people trying to immigrate illegally to Europe with false travel documents has fueled Interpol’s plea.
Interpol posted an open letter asking that airlines use its database on a regular and systematic basis to help deter people traveling on stolen passports. Surprisingly, the only airline so far to take up the charge has been AirAsia, the world’s leading low budget airline. AirAsia is now the first carrier to use Interpol’s I-Checkit program to check passport numbers against Interpol’s database of lost and stolen passport numbers.
I-Checkit was created last year as part of Interpol’s Turn Back Crime global awareness campaign, so it’s really quite amazing that more airlines haven’t already started using the system. With the I-Checkit program, an airline can determine in less than a second if a passport has been invalidated by the country that issued it, regardless of where that passport is from.
Airlines stand to not only help improve the safety of their passengers by using the system, but also save themselves quite a bit of money. Whenever an airline lets a passenger onto a plane and that passenger then has their passport rejected in their destination country, the airline must eat the cost of flying the person back to their country of origin. This cost is usually accompanied by additional fines charged to the airline.
Our founders Laurie Lee and Rob Lee are hopeful that airlines that fly internationally to and from the United States will adopt the I-Checkit program, improving safety for travelers around the world. Laurie commented, “There may be more to this program than I’m not aware of, but it honestly feels like there’s absolutely no reason not to use I-Checkit, and every reason to use it. Interpol has an extensive database of millions upon millions of stolen and lost passports and that information can be used to protect people.”
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.