There are over 3500 differently sized cargo handling facilities worldwide, with little visibility on the capacities and services they can offer. The Smart Facility program creates transparency in cargo handling services and enhances essential cargo operations capabilities to a consistently higher baseline level across the industry.

The program reduces audit frequency, complexity, and cost through the Smart Facility Operational Capacity (SFOC) certification. Besides, a remote validation process captures the existing physical infrastructure and equipment of Cargo Handling Facilities (CHF). Finally, it creates visibility by making this information available on ONE Source, the new online platform for the entire aviation industry.


The Smart Facility program delivers:

  • Standardization of individual audit requirements for CHFs
  • Clear visibility on potential audit reduction thanks to the Audit Reduction Commitment (ARC)
  • A decrease in audit complexity and redundancies for CHFs and Airlines
  • Easy matchmaking between industry partners
  • Benchmarking against industry standards and gap identification

Operational Capacity Validation

The Smart Facility Operational Capacity (SFOC) aims to validate generic cargo operation procedures in cargo handling facilities. This allows airlines to reduce their audit scope and focus solely on their unique processes, services, and security aspects.

The SFOC has two key elements:

Did you know?

The industry spends 360,000 person-days per year on redundant facility audits. SFOC aims to reduce this effort by 50%.

SFOC Audit Certification

It provides airlines with the assurance that SFOC-certified facilities are adhering to IATA’s resolutions and recommended practices in cargo handling and with the IATA Cargo Handling Manual (ICHM). The backbone for the SFOC audit is the Smart Facility Standards Manual, included in the online publication of the ICHM.

The airline Audit Reduction Commitment (ARC)

Industry members participating in the program must sign the Airline Audit Reduction Commitment (ARC). The agreement specifies the reduced audit scope and frequency applied to all certified CHFs based on individual gap-analyses.

Remote Validation

The Smart Facility (SF) Remote Validation assesses the equipment and infrastructure of CHFs in a fast, cost-efficient, and easy way. It focuses on general facility equipment and infrastructure, temperature control, working areas, temporary storage, and live animal and phytosanitary capabilities. Further, it covers electronic system capacities such as Cargo-XML and Mail tracking.

SF Remote Validation is an integral part of every SFOC Audit. However, it is also available as a standalone product allowing smaller businesses to enhance their ONE Source profiles. Remote Validations can be directly purchased for all CHF station profiles in the IATA ONE Source portal. Facility managers only need to fill an online questionnaire and upload evidence and supporting documentation to confirm that the provided information is accurate. For more information, read the SF Remote Validation factsheet (pdf). 

Join the program

In November 2019, SATS became the first SFOC validated cargo handling facility, and Singapore Airlines the first endorsing airline by signing the ARC. IATA invites interested industry partners to contact us directly and become part of the Smart Facility program.