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Aviation

The obligation to report passenger data continues until further notice

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Legal news
calendar 15 March 2021
globus Denmark

As of 24 February 2021, all airlines with flights arriving at Danish airports are obliged to collect and report passenger data to the Danish Patient Safety Authority. The executive order was initially only valid until 1 March 2021. However, it is now clear that due to the new Danish Epidemic Act the rules within the executive order are also effective after 1 March until it has been decided otherwise by the Danish Parliament.

IUNO has previously covered the new obligations for airlines listed in the most recent executive order from the Danish Ministry of Health here. According to the executive order, the obligations are effective from 24 February 2021 to 1 March 2021. However, the executive order was only a transitional provision, which was valid until the new epidemic act enters into force from 1 March 2021. The epidemic act contains a provision which means that all transitional provisions will also apply after 1 March 2021.

The prospects in terms of the airlines having to comply to the new rules

The obligation will be effective until the Danish Parliament decides otherwise. At this point in time the Danish government has decided to slowly begin the reopening of the Danish society – from 1 March the shops were allowed to reopen, and the youngest children were also allowed back to school. As of right now, this slow return to normality is set to continue with the possibility of more reopens every 14 days, as more are vaccinated and spring arrives. However, as in most other countries nothing is certain, and with the possibility of new mutations of the coronavirus followed by lockdowns, airlines might have to comply with the rules in the executive order for a while.

It has been discussed whether the obligation to deliver information about all flights is a violation of data protection agreements. Some airlines have taken the stand that to avoid violating GDP Art. 6 Paragraph 1d Recital 46 they will only deliver data of one flight if there has been a specific case of infection on that flight. For now, the Danish Parliament believes the executive order to be aligned with the data protection agreement. Therefore, it will result in a fine if airlines choose not to comply with the requirements of the executive order.

Which obligations apply?

All airlines are to report the names and telephone numbers as well as flight and seat numbers of all their passengers and crew members, according to the new regulation. The order applies to airlines with flights arriving in Denmark from both EU member states and third countries. Domestic flights, including flights to and from Greenland and the Faroe Islands, are exempt from the order.

The passenger data is to be reported to the Danish authorities as soon as possible and no later than three hours after the flight’s arrival at a Danish airport. However, if an aircraft arrives in Denmark after 7pm CET the three-hour deadline does not have to be observed but the information must be reported to the authorities no later than 8am CET the following day.

IUNO’s opinion

The new rules seem unnecessarily burdensome for the airlines. Instead, it should be considered whether it would be more convenient to leave the responsibility for the transfer of information to the passengers who wish to come to Denmark.

However, as that is not currently the case, it is important that the airlines prioritize to implement the procedures as soon as possible to avoid fines. Since it has now been established that airlines may have to comply with these rules for some time, IUNO recommends that long-term sustainable workflows be established to avoid unnecessary complications. The airlines should try to incorporate the reporting of the passengers' data in their current routines when landing at the Danish airports, as well as in their planning of flights to Denmark.

IUNO recommends airlines to request confirmation from the authorities for each individual reporting, including confirmation that the passenger data is well received and legible.

[Executive Order no. 22 of 18 February 2021 and Consolidated Act no. 1444 of 1 October 2020]

IUNO has previously covered the new obligations for airlines listed in the most recent executive order from the Danish Ministry of Health here. According to the executive order, the obligations are effective from 24 February 2021 to 1 March 2021. However, the executive order was only a transitional provision, which was valid until the new epidemic act enters into force from 1 March 2021. The epidemic act contains a provision which means that all transitional provisions will also apply after 1 March 2021.

The prospects in terms of the airlines having to comply to the new rules

The obligation will be effective until the Danish Parliament decides otherwise. At this point in time the Danish government has decided to slowly begin the reopening of the Danish society – from 1 March the shops were allowed to reopen, and the youngest children were also allowed back to school. As of right now, this slow return to normality is set to continue with the possibility of more reopens every 14 days, as more are vaccinated and spring arrives. However, as in most other countries nothing is certain, and with the possibility of new mutations of the coronavirus followed by lockdowns, airlines might have to comply with the rules in the executive order for a while.

It has been discussed whether the obligation to deliver information about all flights is a violation of data protection agreements. Some airlines have taken the stand that to avoid violating GDP Art. 6 Paragraph 1d Recital 46 they will only deliver data of one flight if there has been a specific case of infection on that flight. For now, the Danish Parliament believes the executive order to be aligned with the data protection agreement. Therefore, it will result in a fine if airlines choose not to comply with the requirements of the executive order.

Which obligations apply?

All airlines are to report the names and telephone numbers as well as flight and seat numbers of all their passengers and crew members, according to the new regulation. The order applies to airlines with flights arriving in Denmark from both EU member states and third countries. Domestic flights, including flights to and from Greenland and the Faroe Islands, are exempt from the order.

The passenger data is to be reported to the Danish authorities as soon as possible and no later than three hours after the flight’s arrival at a Danish airport. However, if an aircraft arrives in Denmark after 7pm CET the three-hour deadline does not have to be observed but the information must be reported to the authorities no later than 8am CET the following day.

IUNO’s opinion

The new rules seem unnecessarily burdensome for the airlines. Instead, it should be considered whether it would be more convenient to leave the responsibility for the transfer of information to the passengers who wish to come to Denmark.

However, as that is not currently the case, it is important that the airlines prioritize to implement the procedures as soon as possible to avoid fines. Since it has now been established that airlines may have to comply with these rules for some time, IUNO recommends that long-term sustainable workflows be established to avoid unnecessary complications. The airlines should try to incorporate the reporting of the passengers' data in their current routines when landing at the Danish airports, as well as in their planning of flights to Denmark.

IUNO recommends airlines to request confirmation from the authorities for each individual reporting, including confirmation that the passenger data is well received and legible.

[Executive Order no. 22 of 18 February 2021 and Consolidated Act no. 1444 of 1 October 2020]

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