Saturday, May 26, 2007

Advance, Advance!

Knickers in a twist time?

Spain, ahead of other European countries, will introduce the so-called Advance Passenger Information system from 13 June. This requires all passengers from non-Schengen countries, such as the UK and Ireland, to give full name, date of birth, nationality, passport number before travelling. If this is not done in advance, the info will have to be collected by check-in staff. Consequently, there are dire warnings of delays, of people not coming to Spain, blah, blah... . It is questionable why Spain feels the need to bring this in now as other EU countries will not be doing so for up to 12 months. Ok, the introduction coincides with the start of the peak season. But when should Spain introduce it? It will presumably be operable in future high seasons, so what’s the problem now?

It is the case that new-generation passports contain all the relevant information, so there may be a bit of overkill here, but fact is, folks, we have to live with this sort of inconvenience (not that it is, to be honest). More pertinent, I suppose, is what this information collection does in terms of deterring terrorism, which is the point of it all. Forged passports anyone?

Pop Quiz update: I was waiting for Andrea to come up with Jonathan King. And so the corollary is - apart from anything else he may or may not have done, what was Jonathan King’s greatest crime in musical terms? Clue: it was a “Spanish” hit.


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