Air France stops identity checks on passengers boarding its flights

The Local France
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Air France stops identity checks on passengers boarding its flights
Photo: AFP

Air France has stopped carrying out a final identity check to make sure that the same name is present on passengers' passports and their boarding passes, raising concerns over flight safety from unions and local authorities.


The measure, which was taken on January 22nd, affects flights within France and the EU's Schengen zone and will also be applied to Air France's budget airlines Hop! and Transavia.
And while many are surprised by the change in procedure, the airline has defended itself, saying that since France's state of emergency was lifted in November last year (it has since been replaced by a tough anti-terrorism law) it is not obliged to carry out the check.  
"The procedure to verify that the name mentioned on the passenger's boarding pass corresponds to that of the passenger's identity card has been obsolete since November 1st," a spokesperson for the airline told Le Figaro
"It was a measure that we had temporarily put back in place in 2016. Now that the state of emergency has been lifted, we have returned to what we were doing before."
And the company's Director of Air Security Gilles Leclair has also come out in defense of the move, arguing that this final check before people board the plane does not constitute a security check. 
"The people who come to the boarding gate are supposed to be secure, since they have been screened and undergone the usual checks, including an X-ray of their carry-on bags and sometimes a check for traces of explosives," he told Europe 1. 
"If the people arriving to board the plane are not in possession of the correct identity, they do not constitute a safety problem when they board the plane."
Despite this, it might take a bit more convincing for others to get on board, with the President of Air France's pilots union SPAF, Grégoire Aplincourt, expressing concern over the move.
“With this measure, you could have a passenger on the plane who is attempting to commit a malicious act. Fortunately, baggage is screened, but overall, you could have a passenger who has had someone else buy his ticket for the wrong reasons.” 
The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi also came out against the change in the boarding process, calling it "unacceptable" and asking for the measure to "re-established at all the companies."


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