China now tells U.S. airlines whether or not China-bound U.S. citizens are allowed to board their flights.
Airlines are already responsible for verifying a passenger’s documents to ensure they’re eligible for entry into their destination country. Does the passenger have a visa, if required? Do they have a return ticket? No airline wants to be on the hook for sending a passenger back to their home country. They also don’t want to incur fines, either.
What’s new is an Interactive Advanced Passenger Information system (iAPI) that airlines are using. The system asks the Chinese government for permission to allow each of its passengers onto its China-bound flights. This system is also be used to determine whether a passenger is allowed to leave China.
According to an internal company memo, American Airlines brought this system online September 20th.
The iAPI program is designed to interactively provide passenger and flight information to China’s National Immigration Agency (NIA) for security screening purposes when passport data has been entered.
Once received, the NIA will evaluate the information and provide authorization to board the passenger travelling on flights arriving into and departing China.
This program allows China NIA to:
- Provide a cleared/not cleared status so agents will know whether or not to
proceed with checking in the customer
- Identify customers requiring additional document checks before boarding
The U.S. government insists on this too. They’d rather stop people before reaching the U.S. rather than turning them away once they’re here. It’s no surprise other countries want this capability.
Think of this as verifying an electronic travel authority for Australia or New Zealand. American’s system even treats it the same way: “China iAPI will use the same QIK entries as Australia and New Zealand APP/IAPI on CTRL+W, F5, Option 1.”
This is the result of Bush and Obama administrations using aftermath of 9/11 to grow the security state.