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EU ACC3 update

Security requirements for air cargo & mail destined for the EU

In October 2010, two improvised explosive devices were transported as air cargo consignments with intended US destinations. Fortunately the two devices were intercepted en-route at transfer points. These incidences highlighted to regulators and air carriers concerns regarding the security of air cargo consignments and the risk of explosive devices being introduced at some stage in the supply chain. 

New EU regulations for the security of incoming air cargo & mail

In response, the EU Commission, acting on instructions from EU Member State Ministers, commenced a review of aviation security legislation. In August 2011, the EU adopted new regulations for the security of incoming air cargo and mail. These new regulations require air carriers flying cargo and mail into the EU from non-EU countries to ensure that certain standards for security are met prior to the loading of an aircraft bound for the EU. These regulations have been applicable from the 1 February 2012 and are focused on air carriers as opposed to foreign states.

The regulations require air carriers flying air cargo and mail into the EU to be designated as an “Air Cargo or Mail Carrier operating into the Union from a Third Country Airport” (ACC3).

Declaration of Commitments and Green countries

In order to obtain ACC3 status, the air carrier must deliver a “Declaration of Commitments” setting out how they have fulfilled their aviation security responsibilities to the civil aviation authorities of an EU Member State to whom they fly cargo and/or mail. The EU Member State receiving the Declaration of Commitments is referred to as the “Member State of Reference”.

The Declaration of Commitments must cover every non-EU airport from which cargo or mail is flown to the EU, with one exception:  air carriers flying cargo or mail direct from a “Green” listed country into the EU may exempt those airports from their Declaration of Commitments, in accordance with the EU regulations. The Green list is set down in the regulations and available to air carriers on request to their EU Member State of reference. The template for the Declaration of Commitments is also set out in EU Regulations.

Independant Validators

ACC3s are obliged to ensure that cargo and mail destined for the EU is screened or comes from a secure supply chain (this can be evidenced with a Consignment Security Declaration). Until 30 June 2014, the security standards foreseen by ICAO as a minimum must apply. From the 1 July 2014, the EU regulations state that ACC3’s must be in possession of security verifications of their cargo and mail operations at the relevant non-EU airports. This verification activity must be undertaken by an Independent Validator, certified by an EU regulator. 

If the ACC3 wishes to have the security controls applied by a business partner such as Known Consignors, Regulated Agents or Ground Handlers at non-EU airports then these entities must also have their operations undergo independent validation. The current estimate is that 700 ACC3 airport operations will need independent validation by 30 June 2014 and a further 2,700 ACC3 airport operations up to 30 June 2019. Each independent validation will have to be redone on a five-year cycle.

IATA is working closely with regulators and will assist air carriers to meet their ACC3 obligations by providing information, pre-assessment tools and expert advice.


Additional information

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