European Private Flights

Private European flights

Privatjets - the Achilles helicopter of EU ATC? On a small highway, a limousine is rolling between sunflower patches, hiding the passenger behind the toned window of the car." To stand in front of the small kiosk is to wait at the front office of the hotels rather than the hustle and lust of the big airport near by. Roentgen devices and metallic sensors are lacking, as are lines for safety and loaded travellers, which have become synonyms for today's aviation.

However, only if the journey takes place outside the SISTER states does he have to call the Swiss Bundespolizei for a visa inspection. These experiences are typically found at small European destinations and it is easily recognisable how attractive such flights are.

Travellers are arriving only 20 min before the plane. With the words of a company's promotional materials, private jet users can "skip the safety release and even get on from the apron. During 2011, e-mails from the UK Boarder Agency to the Guardian unveiled the scope for the UK's renunciation of visitor controls.

"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, ladies and gentlemen, Mr President of the Commission, this past summer has seen the arrival of tens of thousands of private jet arrivals from all over the globe without having to undergo border controls. "In-house reporting shows that immigrant and custom personnel were directed not to hit private charters customers, business aircraft included, as part of the "light touch" destination strategy introduced surreptitiously this past summer.

In 2011, Europol also published a rapport which pointed to the use of lightweight planes by criminal organisations. According to the Criminal Investigation Authority, "the use of lightweight drug traffic planes to the EU (e.g. from Northern and Western Africa) has increased significantly, as has the number of suspect flights between EU Member States.

Besides narcotics, however, today lightweight planes are also used to ease the burden of clandestine migration, to traffick trafficked persons and to transport guns, diamond and mass currency supplies for the purpose of illicit currency-laundering. "According to the reports, the "lack of surveillance" was a "key factor in this increase in the use of lightweight aircrafts for the purposes of combating smuggling".

This opinion was shared seven years later by Frank Buckenhofer, Chairman of the Deutsche Gewerkschaft der Polizisten und Zollbeamten (German Police and Custom Union), who described the private aviation sector's attitude as "grossly negligent" and a "major safety risk". To Investigate Europe he said that "smaller airfields, especially those without monitoring control, are an open gateway for contraband and illicit immigration.

" Mr Arnd Krummen, a member of the executive committee of the same confederation and a specialised expert in aerodrome safety and frontier management, described the issue as "a serious safety risk" and private aviation as "the Achilles' Heel for internal security". "He argued the need for stronger checks and explained that it should be in the interest of the US administration to allow only those checkpoints where the US Fed can carry out checks professionally.

" However, it was not only in Germany that concern was expressed about the safety of smaller aerodromes. As David Weinberger, an analyst at the French National Institute for Securities Studies, says, the liberation of private aircraft information is a prerogative for the wealthy with "one side political: private aircraft users usually have good links to the state.

" There is no doubt that private planes have been and are being used for crime: there are many effective law enforcement measures from all over Europe that show how successfully frontier controls, policemen and custom officers have arrested these culprits or criminals. It is doubtful whether this will go on like this if government relies on technologies to safeguard their frontiers, because in Frank Buckenhofer's words: "If there is no "control", then there are no "cases".

" However, the picture is very different for regular travelers and holidaymakers traveling on business flights, as the EU Passenger Name Records (PNR) have entered into force this year. Whilst all passenger traveling on board airline companies have their details gathered, those traveling on private aircraft within the EU may be exempted at the request of the EU Member State administrations.

Thus, many are questioning the efficiency of the GPSD and its capacity to achieve its initial objective, especially when the European Parliament's own declaration on PNR seems rather ambitious: "Action at EU level, such as the Passenger Information Promotion Policy (API), the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the second gen SIS II, does not allow prosecuting agencies to detect "unknown" persons in the same way as an air passenger identification database is.

" According to the European Commission, the PNR - which came into effect in May of this year - is "a recording of the travelling needs of each and every traveller recorded in the carrier's ticketing and departures system". With the exception of Denmark, the associated EU Directives stipulate that air companies must provide their passengers' details to the main policing authority twice, once at the moment of making the reservations and once again after embarking on the plane, when they are sure that the customer is on the plane and will remain on it.

The same is true for flights to and from EU aerodromes. Information gathered may includes citizens pass and postal address information, billing information, trip information, seating number, and trip history. It has also turned this massive gathering and retention of PII into a very contentious exercise, which has brought "serious privacy and transparent issues" and was described as "a move towards a supervisory society" by EU Privacy and Defence Commissioners Giovanni Buttarelli in September 2015.

Bernard Cazeneuve, the then France Home Secretary, described the critic as " unaccountable " and reproached them for not doing everything "to ensure that we protected Europe from the threat of terrorism". However, the legislation procedure was lengthy and lasted more than five years, and in December 2015 changes were made to exempt private jet travellers from the data base.

It was justified by the fact that this was technically difficult, since the involvement would require private individuals to use travel cards in a similar way to professional people. Ana Gomes, the Portugese Social Democrat MEP, criticised the resulting slip, saying that the liberation of private jets was clearly to be welcomed:

"Give privileges to the wealthiest who can fly their private airplanes. Whilst recognising that small airfields do not have the PNR requirement for an entry-level system using gates, it claims that the information can be obtained by other means, such as policing or custom. To Investigate Europe she said that she "does not believe that the policy and domestic legislation creates a backdoor.

" Even if Hedh is right, is there a risk that the PNR databank will result in a relaxation of safety - the current function of frontier controls being outsourced to technological solutions? Private jet use is on the rise. WingX, the leading provider of aeronautical information, reports that private corporate aircraft operated around 450,000 charters in Europe in 2017, an increase of more than 10 per cent over the last 12 month.

Over 102,000 take-offs were registered between June and September at European airport locations, the most busy quarterly since 2009, she said to, with Paris Le Bourget and Geneva, Switzerland, the best destination for charters. Furthermore, new airsharing locations that market themselves as "Ubers of the sky" are promising to attract private pilots to the world.

Could the expulsion of this information allow crime activities to take place under the radars? When asked about the issue of private aircraft exemption, the European Union said to Investigate Europe that it intends to re-examine the issue by May 2020. "However, the PNR scheme also seemed to be devalued by the fact that the definitions of the information contained in the initial proposal for a regulation were extended.

Investigate Europe stated:'The PNR goes beyond the scope of the passenger name record specifically and generally known in the airline's reservations or flight controls system and may contain any 'equivalent system with the same functionalities'. "For example, an MS spreadsheet sheet, a MS-Word document or a basic e-mail containing information on passenger or journey information could be regarded as'PNR' and the carriers might be obliged to transmit this information to the Passenger Information Centre.

" However, the choice not to record private jets was seen by many criticism as a prerogative for the wealthy but open to exploitative crime by criminals, contraband, human beings traders and terrorism. The European Commission took a range of legislative action on 19 July against half of the EU Member States that have not yet transposed PNR legislation, namely Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.

The Investigate Europe programme is a Europe-wide piloting project: a group of nine European correspondents from eight European nations researching and publishing European issues with European content in partnership with European publishers. Sponsors of the Fellowship are the Hans Böckler Foundation, the Hübner & Kennedy Foundation, the GLS Treuhand, the Rudolf Augstein Foundation, the Norwegian Fritt Ord Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for Europe.

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