Polish authorities are more strictly enforcing passenger name record (PNR) regulations that apply to aircraft operators flying into the country. Based on new legal advice from Paweł Mazur of local law firm Warddynksi & Partners, the European Business Aviation Association has warned its members to ensure that they provide the full details about passengers required by the Polish Border Guard.
Due to a lack of resources, the border guard has allowed some discretion in the enforcement of PNR rules, but strictly speaking this covers only violations that occurred before Feb. 4, 2022. A moratorium on penalties for noncompliance is set to expire on Feb. 5, 2024, and Polish officials have indicated they are now deploying additional staff to enforce the rules at airports across the country.
PNR data is required for passengers entering or departing all European Union member states and is part of wider controls aimed at cross-border crime and terrorism. It is supposed to be collected before arrival or departure from aircraft operators, but evidently, there have been inconsistencies in how individual member states enforce the requirements.
“If an operator is approached by the [Polish] border guard regarding a suspected violation, it is highly recommended to seek advice from a local law firm before responding to the authorities,” the EBAA warned in its recent alert. An online system is available for operators to file PNR data.
“It is worth noting that when the authorities contact operators and request information about their flights to Poland, they may not explicitly disclose that they are gathering evidence to be used against the operators in a PNR violation case,” the EBAA statement further warned. “Consequently, many fines are imposed based on statements obtained directly from the operators, making subsequent defense efforts futile.”
Under an agreement with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, some PNR data can be supplied to U.S. officials to expedite immigration procedures. PNR data can be held only for five years and after six months is supposed to be depersonalized., according to the European Union 2016 directive that established the system.