PTE Interview: How good is passenger-entered APIS data?

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Irra Ariella Khi, co-founder and chief executive officer of Zamna, discusses the importance of ensuring advance passenger information is accurate and reliable, ahead of her presentation at the Passenger Terminal CONFERENCE.

What is your presentation about?

Governments are increasingly demanding that API [advance passenger information]should be accurate, and fining airlines when it is not. Furthermore, the growth of electronic travel authorizations and e-visas means that airlines will need to be sure that passengers have the required ETA before they board. Zamna’s API verification technology has been checking the accuracy of passenger-supplied API provided to several of the world’s leading airlines. This presentation will examine how good that API data is and what kinds of mistakes are being made by passengers and airline staff – and their impact on operations before and after the increase in ETAs.

How does API verification technology work?

This platform, built on triple-patented privacy-by-design proprietary algorithms, is designed to verify passenger APIs and connect API validations between airlines, governments and security agencies. Via the platform, any of these parties can validate a passenger’s biographic and biometric data, using cryptographically sound ‘signals’ to check passengers are who they say they are. Zamna’s software uses blockchain technology to ensure that data accuracy and integrity can be validated, while the underlying data is secured, cannot be read and is not stored.

Do passengers input their data correctly? Why or why not? Which mistakes are most common?

Research shows that passengers provide incorrect passport information around 50% of the time when they travel. Whether it’s accidentally selecting the wrong option from a drop-down menu or a simple typo, humans are fallible creatures and mistakes are inevitable. The most common mistakes include typing errors in first name, surname and passenger number, followed by passport expiry date and nationality – the latter is often incorrectly selected from the dropdown menu.

How do mistakes affect operations? Can you quantify in terms of time/money?

Incorrect APIs have a significant impact on airline operations. Every year, airlines incur fines as well as operational costs (both of these in the millions) for providing inaccurate data to governments, and increased manual checks required to check whether the passenger data is correct, which puts a strain on airline operations – staff, resourcing and airport real estate.

When ETIAS (the European ESTA) comes into effect later this year, this will be an even bigger problem. When passengers apply for an ETIAS visa, they will have to ensure that the data they submit accurately matches the information in their passport. Any errors made will cause considerable delays and long queues during the check-in process, and may mean passengers are refused travel completely.

How can mistakes be reduced?

We can’t ever rely on humans to input their advanced passenger information without error. So it’s not a case of reducing the number of mistakes made by passengers; rather, it’s a case of creating a more secure and efficient API verification process to alleviate the burden currently on airlines and make the passenger journey much more seamless. The industry can achieve this thanks to technology like ours.

Using our blockchain-enabled technology, a record is made each time a passenger’s data is validated as accurate, which builds reputational value over time. While if a passenger’s data presents repeated errors, its reputational value is decreased, and it can be flagged up immediately to an airline or a government as inaccurate. This way, both the airlines and the governments can be 100% confident in the accuracy and validity of passenger data. It also allows them to check the data for previous authentication or errors, without either party needing to store a copy of or share the personal content of that data. By utilizing this technology, manual passport checks can be reduced by up to 90%.

Don’t miss Irra Ariella Khi and Simon Watkin, senior official at the UK’s Home Office, giving their presentation, ‘How good is passenger-entered APIS data?’ on the second day of the Passenger Terminal CONFERENCE as part of the Aviation Security, Border Control & Facilitation stream. The full conference program can be found here.

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Christine has worked for UKi Media & Events for almost 15 years across a variety of roles. Currently she is Expo News Editor, writing about the new technologies on display and the visitors to the company’s trade shows. She is a proponent of the Oxford comma.

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