SAS has rejected the Swedish government`s proposition for extended and
stricter carrier responsibility for airlines, and at the same time warns
of the consequences. An extended carrier responsibility would lead to
greater difficulty for refugees trying to reach Sweden and reduce their
possibilities for seeking asylum. SAS also believes that it is the
authorities` task to ensure that migration policy is implemented. SAS,
as an individual airline, neither wants, can or should carry out the
work of government authorities.
SAS has today written to the National Insurance Committee of the Swedish
Riksdag (parliament) regarding this issue.
In brief, SAS highlights the following:
1. It is wrong that basic official tasks should be transferred to
It is the government`s responsibility to ensure compliance with the
immigration policy approved by the Riksdag and the government.
Nevertheless, as a result of carrier responsibility, the airlines would
be assigned a control obligation comprising measures that correspond to
the role of authorities. SAS would receive the right to refuse boarding
on the basis of travel documentation (not air tickets) not being in
order. In certain cases, this would mean the airlines decide whether a
passenger is entitled to seek asylum or not. It could therefore be said
that the passenger then has a dependency on the airline.
2. The airlines are penalized in an unreasonable manner
The proposition expresses an obligation for carriers to determine
whether documentation is missing or is obviously false. If SAS personnel
make a mistake or there is an oversight in checking passengers`
documents, SAS risks having to pay return transport, living costs and a
maximum penalty of SEK 46,000 per passenger, if a foreigner is rejected.
The airline risks being held responsible for passengers disposing of
their documentation during the journey.
SAS believes that this system is completely unreasonable and irrational.
3. More difficult for persons requiring protection to seek asylum in
Sweden - airlines will be compelled to make stricter assessments.
SAS does not believe that an airline should make an assessment regarding
which passengers have valid reasons for seeking asylum in Sweden. This
assessment requires considerable time to be made by the appropriate
authorities. On the other hand, an airline has a minute at most to make
an assessment in each individual case at check-in.
Since the airlines cannot risk having to pay large penalties, the new
system will mean that the airlines will be forced to implement stricter
passenger control. The result of the government`s proposition will be
that SAS will be forced to issue guidelines to its airport personnel to
stop certain categories of passengers, who could be considered
“suspicious” on unclear grounds. Using such guidelines, the airline`s
selection process risks being discriminating in certain circumstances.
The extended carrier responsibility will lead to greater difficulties
for refugees trying to reach Sweden and reduce the possibilities for
them to seek asylum. As a result of the government proposal, SAS and
other airlines will be obliged to stop them before they commence their
journey to Sweden.