ABOVE: Le Touquet airport in France, a popular destination for GA flights across the Channel
The Home Office has opened a consultation on a proposal ‘to introduce regulations that would require people responsible for international General Aviation (GA) flights to submit information online and in advance about flights and people on board’. The consultation opened on Monday 24 April and closes on Friday 16 June.
‘The unscheduled nature of GA and the high number of locations across and around the UK that flights can arrive into present significant challenges to border security and law enforcement’, notes the Home Office in an online statement. To counter the threats of illegal immigration and smuggling, proposed regulations would see Advance Passenger Information (API) submitted online and in advance for all international flights. This, says the Home Office, would ‘enhance watchlisting and intelligence-led analysis and improve the effectiveness with which resources are deployed to meet those flights’.
Although all airlines making scheduled commercial flights to and from the UK are required to provide API, the Minister for Aviation the Rt Hon Robert Kenrick notes that information regarding GA flights “does not [currently] have to be submitted in a consistent format”.
He adds: “Requiring the data to be provided online will have minimal impact on those pilots and operators already providing that information, but it will set a responsibility for those who do not currently support the GA community’s contribution to the security of the UK border”.
Under the proposed changes, GA flights using systems ‘already connected to the government’s border systems would continue to use those to submit GARs’, as would Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) with ‘direct connections into Home Office Systems’.
Interested parties may provide feedback via this Home Office survey.
IMAGE: GOOGLE MAPS
[Updated 27 April 2023 – a previous version of the article incorrectly indicated that the consultation was launched by the CAA]