6. Memorandum submitted by the Board
of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK)|
BAR UK represents 90 scheduled airlines in the
United Kingdom in their dealings with Government, regulators and
The opportunity is welcomed to respond to the
Home Affairs Committee's inquiry into Immigration Control, and
does so primarily in respect of e-Borders.
(a) BAR UK members work with the Immigration
authorities in several ways to ensure that passengers comply with
the UK's documentation and visa requirements, and by handling
the many issues that arise when they do not.
(b) BAR UK is engaged with the Home Office
in the development of the e-Borders programme, and its processes.
(c) E-Borders must not be developed on a
stand-alone basis, and international industry standards need to
(d) Benefits must also accrue the airline
community, and its passengers.
(e) The costs for e-Borders are not recognised
as being those of the airline community or its passengers.
This response is required to be brief, so BAR
UK will be pleased to assist the Home Affairs Committee by providing
more information as, and when, it may be required.
1. Our members have a responsibility to
ensure that all passengers have the correct passport and any visa
documentation as may be required, to enter the UK.
2. Incorrectly documented passengers generally
lead to fines and detention costs being incurred by airlines.
3. Additionally, our airlines incur considerable
costs in respect of:
returning deportees to their country
of origin, often at a full fare on another airline;
the costs of "presenting"
arriving passengers to the immigration authorities at major airports;
the training and operation of Approved
Gate Check status at overseas airports.
4. A number of our member airlines have
also engaged with the immigration authorities in respect of:
the voluntary copying of documents
overseas, to stem illegal immigrants;
Operation Semaphore, to test e-Border
processes (see below); and
the provision of data sharing with
the various agencies in respect of immigration issues.
5. BAR UK, and its members, are actively
working with the Home Office in regard to the development of e-Borders,
for which the "Authority to Carry (ATC)" scheme is core
6. The data transmission required for ATC
is costly, and will extend check-in times. Individually, this
time may not be great but, cumulatively for any one flight, could
7. The development of e-Borders is being
piloted through a programme known as "Operation Semaphore".
This involves a select number of BAR UK member airlines working
in cooperation with the Home Office on a good spread of routes,
using passenger information devolved from two sources, namely
check-in and passports.
8. There are distinct features and benefits
accruing to the Immigration authorities. Those that may accrue
to airlines, and their passengers, have not yet been determined.
BAR UK will expect to see a streamlining of the various immigration
processes currently used.
9. The Home Office has yet to determine
how e-Borders will be paid for. BAR UK does not recognise these
costs as being those for airlines or its customers.
1 December 2005