* IATA chief says governments must ensure borders secure
* Malaysian plane mystery highlights airport checks
* Few governments use stolen document database-Interpol
By Robert Evans
GENEVA, March 12 Spotting fake passports like
those carried by two travelers on the missing Malaysian
passenger jet is the job of border police and not the airlines,
the chief of the industry's global body IATA said on Wednesday.
Tony Tyler told a news conference that only governments
through their police forces had access to a huge official
database of stolen or lost travel documents that could confirm
if they were being used illegally.
"If there is a problem with border control and invalid
passports, that is an issue which governments have to step up to
and address," said Tyler, whose International Air Transport
Association links over 90 percent of world's airlines.
The international police agency Interpol said only a handful
of governments from its 190 member countries actually made use
of the database at its headquarters in Lyon, France.
The issue of who might be blamed for letting two young
Iranians onto Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 at Kuala
Lumpur airport last Saturday has been under review since the
jetliner disappeared soon after take-off.
It was carrying 239 passengers and crew on a flight to
Beijing. An international search and rescue operation across a
wide area of south-east Asia. has not yet located the plane, a
Boeing 777, or any wreckage.
Initially there was speculation that the Iranians may have
been part of a terror network, but this idea was later largely
discarded when they were identified as probable asylum seekers,
one of whom had close family in Germany.
Tyler, with IATA since 2011 after 5 years as chief executive
of Cathay Pacific Airways, implicitly exonerated
Malaysian Airlines -- under fire over handling of the plane's
disappearance -- for the failure to stop the pair boarding.
ROUTINE VISUAL CHECKS
Airline staff at check-in desks routinely verify that names
on their passenger lists match those on passports. "But that is
as far as the responsibility goes," he said.
Carriers spent "millions" annually on providing more than 60
governments with passport and other details on passengers flying
into their territory. "We are therefore entitled to expect that
border controls do what they have to," he added.
In Lyon, Interpol also indirectly pointed the finger at
Malaysian border controls for allowing the two Iranians, who
arrived in Kuala Lumpur on their own passports, to board the
An official told Reuters Global Aerospace Correspondent Tim
Hepher that government agencies of fewer than 20 nations - a
group in which Asia was "under-represented" - systematically
check passports at their borders with the database.
But two airlines, Qatar Airways and Air Arabia,
had agreed to pilot a scheme allowing them to provide details on
their passengers for checking against Interpol's stolen passport
list, the official said.
In Geneva, spokesman Anthony Concil said IATA was aware of
this. But at the news conference, Tyler indicated the carriers
would be reluctant to take on checks themselves. "It is not a
job for airlines, it is a job for governments," he declared.