Airlines instructed to turn over passenger lists to Svalbard

Longyearbyen is the largest settlement on Svalbard. (iStock)
Longyearbyen is the largest settlement on Svalbard. (iStock)
The Governor of Svalbard wants to know the identity of all air passenger arriving to the Arctic archipelago.

Airlines have recently been instructed to send lists with the names of all passengers to Svalbard, on both charter and scheduled flights. The Governor of Svalbard Odd Olsen Ingerø will use the lists to get better control over who is staying on the islands at any time.

“The Immigration Act does not apply to Svalbard. The only way we can know the identity of those arriving here, is by getting these lists from the airlines,” Ingerø says to NRK.

Rules on registration of airline passengers to Svalbard were introduced already in the 1970s, but they have not been followed in the last few years.

Surprise Russian visit

In April Russia’s controversial Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin landed on Svalbard without Norwegian authorities knowing about his visit. Rogozin is on EU and Norway’s sanction list of individuals not allowed entry because of his direct involvement in Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

After this incident the Ministry of Transport ordered the Civil Aviation Authority to start implementing the existing rules on routine collection of passenger lists for planes to Svalbard.

All flights to Svalbard need permission from the Civil Aviation Authority, and airlines are now informed that they need to send passengers lists to Norwegian authorities.

According to Governor Odd Olsen Ingerø the lists will be used in case there is a need to search for certain individuals, like people who are not allowed to go to Svalbard. The lists will not be kept, but will be destroyed after use, he explains.

Related stories from around the North:

Denmark:  Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News

Finland:  Survey – More than half of reservists in Finland pro-Nato, Yle News

Norway: “Norway has no right to stop anyone from visiting Svalbard:” Russia, Barents Observer

Russia: Russia protests drilling in Svalbard zone, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Russia concerned by Finland, Sweden moves towards closer ties with NATO, Radio Sweden

United States:  Alaska stands to benefit as US takes reins of Arctic Council, Eye on the Arctic

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