Detailed flight passenger data collection: what the Home Office wants to know about your booking

Interior Minister Jan Jambon has received the go-ahead of the Privacy Commission to keep detailed records of all passengers taking a plane, De Tijd reports. The news has been confirmed to the VRT news desk. Intelligence services will have detailed information on any passenger 48 hours before a flight is scheduled to take off, to ramp up the battle against terrorism. So what will change?
Christophe Ketels / COMPAGNIE GAGARINE

The Belgian federal government approved legislation in December to collect personal data about passengers taking international trains, buses, cruises and, of course, flights. However, the government had to ask the permission for each of these sectors first, and engage in talks with them separately.

The privacy watchdog has now approved the most important part, the one concerning air traffic. Jambon spokesman Olivier Van Raemdonck says "everything has been discussed thoroughly" with the aviation sector. He claims it will still be possible for passengers to book last-minute flights, despite the obligation for air companies to have all passenger information available 48 hours before take-off.

Air companies will have to supply concrete data about how passengers made their reservation and when to the Crisis Centre of the Interior Office. In order to make no mistakes, they have to do this a second time, when everyone has already boarded the plane and when nobody is allowed to alight.

What the Home Office will be informed of in more detail

The tour operator will pass on to the government...

  • your name, address, date of birth
  • your contact data
  • nationality
  • luggage
  • seat number
  • reservation date
  • method of payment
  • which tour operator
  • complete flight route


What tour operators won't pass on:

  • your origin
  • religious beliefs
  • political ideas
  • health issues
  • sexual orientation

The measures should come into force in a years' time

Each year, some 15 million passengers are seen departing from Belgian airports. The government wants to be able to monitor in particular those whose names have been listed in data banks on heavy crime, illegal migration and terrorism.