What is the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive?

On May 24, 2016, a new piece of security legislation called the Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive was enforced by the European Union. Its purpose is to make it easier to identify travelling terrorists, criminals and trace criminal networks travelling in and out of the EU.

While the PNR Directive doesn’t add an extra burden on passengers, it does introduce a new administration step for airlines, tour operators and any other service providers who book flights. Are you one of these groups? Here you’ll learn exactly what the EU PNR directive is and what you need to do to comply.

What is the Passenger Name Record Directive?

The PNR Directive is a piece of legislation introduced by the EU to serve as a law enforcement tool that helps maintain Europe’s resiliency to security threats by making it easier to identify and stop individuals and groups who pose a threat, such as criminals and terrorists, and trace their travel patterns.

Under the PNR Directive, EU Member States are required to collect and process the Passenger Name Record data of passengers on international flights entering or departing the EU. Collected PNR data is analysed and compared with law enforcement databases to identify individuals that may pose a security threat. PNR data is stored by national governments for up to five years.

What airlines need to do to comply with the PNR Directive

Of course, the source of this PNR data is airlines and travel operators. Collecting data about passengers is a normal part of the daily travel business. This is the data that enables reservations and check-in processes, for example. PNRs include both data that is provided by passengers and collected about them, and ranges from basic contact information to travel dates and seat and baggage details.

Under the PNR Directive, airlines, tour operators, and other relevant service providers are required to pass along this data to border authorities in advance of all flights.

What kinds of passenger data do airlines need to provide?

There are a total of 19 different types of PNR data that airlines, tour operators and other relevant service providers need to submit to authorities. The most important types are passenger data, flight details, payment details and boarding status.

The full list of all 19 types of PNR data can be found in our white paper “The Ultimate Guide to PNRGOV Compliance“.

Differences between airlines and tour operators

There are some differences between airlines with tour operators when it comes to the types of PNR data required to be submitted. Unlike the scheduled travellers bookings, tour operator booking data does not include:

  • Passenger address details
  • Transfer details, out- and inbound flights only

Hopefully this overview has helped you understand the basics of the EU PNR Directive and how it impacts airlines and tour operators. With the right tools and data management strategies, maintaining compliance can feel hassle-free.