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Aircraft Operators

General Requirements

The Secure Flight Final Rule established new watch list matching requirements for covered airlines as of October 28, 2008. Secure Flight applies to all domestic and international passengers traveling on covered flights into, out of, within, and over the United States. Secure Flight also applies to point-to-point international flights operated by U.S.-based airlines. Secure Flight transferred responsibility for passenger watch list matching from airlines covered under 49 CFR 1544.101(a) (i.e., flights operating within the United States) and non-U.S. based airlines covered under 49 CFR 1546.101 (a) or (b) (i.e., flights operating into, out of, and over the United States) to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

A summary of the requirements in the Secure Flight Final Rule is described below.

  • Implement an Aircraft Operator Implementation Plan (AOIP) that includes:
    • Information on required airline testing
    • The date by which the airline will begin to collect and transmit to TSA each data element of the Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) for each covered flight
    • The specific means by which the airline will request and transmit information under §1560.101, the timing and frequency of transmission, and any other related matters in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Consolidated User Guide
  • Conduct testing with TSA in accordance with the AOIP
  • Request full name, date of birth, gender, and Redress Number (if available) from passengers and certain non-traveling individuals requesting access to a TSA-controlled sterile concourse
  • Transmit full name, date of birth, gender, and any other available SFPD for passengers and non-traveling individuals approximately 72 hours prior to the scheduled flight departure time
  • Make a privacy notice available on public websites and self-serve kiosks before collecting personally identifiable information from passengers or non-traveling individuals
  • Request a verifying identity document (VID) at the airport if TSA returns an "Inhibited" boarding pass printing result for that individual
  • When necessary, provide information from the verifying identity document to TSA to resolve potential watch list matches
  • Not issue a boarding pass or permit an individual to board an aircraft or enter a sterile area that serves covered flights until that individual provides a verifying identity document when requested under the circumstances described above
  • Contact the Secure Flight Operations Center when passenger Resolution is required
  • Comply with instructions from TSA to designate identified individuals for enhanced screening before boarding a covered flight or accessing a sterile area

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Register for Secure Flight

At this time, Secure Flight is accepting registration only for covered airlines. Reference the Secure Flight Final Rule to determine if you should register.

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Customer Privacy

Ensuring the privacy of your customers is a cornerstone of Secure Flight. TSA developed a comprehensive privacy plan to incorporate privacy laws and practices into all areas of Secure Flight. As an airline, you are an important part of this plan. As the point of direct contact with passengers, it is crucial that you understand your role in this privacy plan. The following are important steps that you should take to enhance passenger privacy:

  • As defined by the Secure Flight Final Rule, make a privacy notice available on public websites and self-serve kiosks before collecting any personally identifiable information from passengers or non-traveling individuals
  • Understand what information is required and what information is optional for passengers and non-travelers to provide

By working together, we can ensure your passengers’ peace of mind, knowing that we have taken the appropriate steps to protect their privacy and their safety.

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Implementation: On-boarding and Cutover

Secure Flight conducts a series of tests with each airline to confirm it is ready to implement Secure Flight prior to cutover. The on-boarding and cutover process provides a structured and predetermined series of steps to enable Secure Flight to confirm that each covered airline is technically and operationally prepared to cutover to Secure Flight. TSA will send each airline more detailed requirements for On-boarding Testing and test plans as it registers for Secure Flight.

Once the On-boarding Tests have been completed and the airline is prepared to begin implementation, TSA will work with the airline to establish a cutover schedule and initialize the cutover process.

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Latest revision: 22 January 2013