Transport Ministry wants airlines to use Interpol database

PETALING JAYA - The Transport Ministry will talk to airline operators here to link up with Interpol's Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database to prevent passengers from boarding planes with stolen or lost travel docu­ments.

AirAsia has already announced it will use the system to cover its network of 100 airports across Asia and 600 international flights per day to about 20 countries.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the ministry "will definitely" hold talks with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd and other airline operators on the matter.

"This is aimed at enhancing the safety features of the aviation industry," he said yesterday.

He said by adopting more stringent mea­sures, such as the SLTD, authorities here would be better equipped to deal with the issue of stolen passports used by airline passengers.

He commended AirAsia for its decision to start screening passports with the database.

On Tuesday, AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes had said its I-Checkit system, to be implemented later this month, would provide for passport numbers to be compared with a database of about 40 million records from 167 countries.

The system will allow Interpol to notify its national bureaus worldwide if stolen passports are detected.

Immigration director-general Datuk Aloyah Mamat supported the Transport Ministry's move to get airline operators to adopt the SLTD, aimed at improving airport security with regard to using stolen travel documents as highlighted in the MH370 incident.

"The system would help strengthen air tra­vel security while cooperation between the agencies and airlines would make it easier for the authorities to detect stolen passports," she said.

At present, she said, the department relied on an off-line Interpol data system that needed to be updated from time to time.

"We are also looking at information sharing with the police, who are using an online and real-time data system with Interpol," she said.