Private jets exempt from data collection law pose crime risk

Toni Passig
Airfield Schoenhagen near Berlin


Europe looks at how a foreseen loophole in the collection of passenger
flight details -exempting private jets – could facilitate criminal
activity. We investigate how lobbying by companies providing private
jets, as well as tourist flights, succeeded in preventing their
passengers’ data being subject to the same regulations as passengers on
other flights.

Experts from different countries sound
the alarm on the growing market of “fly fast” flights, which can be used
for drugs, human trafficking and terrorist movement towards and inside

In April 2016, the European Parliament
adopted the directive “on the use of passenger name record (PNR) data
for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of
terrorist offences and serious crime”.

Several MEPs felt the Commission’s text
lacked an important source of data: private jets, charter flights and
all the information coming from those who don’t use “air carriers” to
travel to Europe.

One of the amendments that failed to pass
stated that: “‘international flight’ means any scheduled or
non-scheduled flight by an air carrier planned to land on the territory
of a Member State originating in a third country or to depart from the
territory of a Member State with a final destination in a third country,
including chartered flights, private planes, privately freighted
flights, as well as any transit flights where passengers disembark.”

The directive is now in force and
European countries should be collecting PNR data. But an important part
of air traffic information is out of reach for the EU: one that rich,
criminal networks can afford and may be using without being recorded.
Investigate Europe looks at how this foreseen “loophole” works for small
airports and private or chartered planes.