Almost 340 billion letters and 6.7 billion postal parcels are sent every year and air mail plays an essential role in their delivery. While the emergence of electronic communications caused a dramatic decrease in the number of letters sent, more and more parcels are delivered daily thanks to e-commerce. Postal operators and airlines need to re-define their models and cope with a new set of operational and regulatory rules.
Since 1911, the Designated Post Operators (DPO) of the world have counted on the airlines to provide fast and reliable services for their mail products. To hurdle the challenges that the air mail industry has to face, the IATA’s Airmail Board (AMB) develops and maintains standards and procedures concerning the handling of mail. AMB works closely with international organizations such as the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the International Post Corporation (IPC).
Today, many of the commercial products transported by mail operators, such as mobile phones, smartphones and tablets, contain lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are dangerous goods, which require specific packaging and handling in order to be transported safely by air. To
ensure regulatory compliance, DPOs must have their dangerous goods training and acceptance
procedures approved by the appropriate Civil Aviation Authority.
Together with UPU, IATA developed an Alarm Resolution to report prohibited items inserted in the mail. It will be incorporated into the Airport Handling Manual, 37th Edition in 2017.
Advance Cargo Information
The European Union has indicated that Advance Cargo Information (ACI) for the mail will be required in the coming years. IATA and the UPU collaborate to comply with this requirement.
- Pre-departure ACI: the DPO will send
details about the mail consignment to destination authorities prior to
departure to be analyzed.
- Pre-arrival ACI: the filing of pre-arrival ACI is subject to a
bilateral agreement between the carrier and the postal operator. IATA developed multiple models, allowing flexibility for the
Destination authorities may advise the Posts of any additional action required, such as providing more complete data, performing enhanced screening or, in the worst case scenario, issuing a “do not load” directive. Only the items that were reported and that have no outstanding action required can be placed in mail receptacles.
Consignment Security Declaration (CSD) for mail
The CSD and e-CSD provide regulators with an audit trail of how, when and by whom the mail has been
secured along the supply chain. IATA and postal operators from the UPU
collaborate actively to meet ICAO requirements.