Industry News

New European Inbound Air Cargo Regulations: what does ACC3 mean to you?

New inbound air cargo security regulations will affect almost all air carriers moving air cargo or mail into or through the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA). A failure to be compliant with the new regulations by 1st July 2014 will see carriers denied the ability to move air cargo into these territories: a carrier’s security programme, onsite operations and associated secure supply chains will have to be subjected to independent validation and EU State approval prior to that deadline. Mike Woodall explains.

Air transport industry rules and regulations constantly evolve and airlines have no choice but to keep up with the flow of new standards – many of which are, unfortunately, not mutually recognised or harmonised by regulators across the globe. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), State signatories to ICAO Annex 17 and industry representative associations, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), all work collaboratively via various forums and ICAO-led committees and working groups in an attempt to create and agree globally harmonised, proportionate, deliverable and sustainable aviation security solutions.

However, on occasion, worldwide agreement and the associated implementation of such common standards is not achievable in the short to medium term. As a result some States, or collections of States (and at times industry itself), feel compelled to mandate their own standards, often as a result of a new or evolving terrorist threat; typically following a new or updated risk assessment of existing threats (intent and capability), the degree of mitigation currently in place (including vulnerability assessments) and an evaluation of the potential consequences should the risks not be adequately managed.

One of the most important pieces of new air cargo security legislation to have emerged in recent times is the Air Cargo or Mail Carrier Operating into the Union from a Third Country Airport regulation, commonly known as ACC3, which is being mandated by the EU. These new regulations, in part effective from 1st February 2012, but also with potentially serious implications for nearly all air cargo and mail movements into the EU and EEA countries from 1st July 2014, were created as a direct consequence of the two failed air cargo attacks of October 2010. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the two devices that made their way into the global air cargo supply chain – and they made it clear that air cargo was now very much viewed as an area they would look to continue to target moving forward.

As a direct consequence of these attacks many States and/or regulatory bodies urgently conducted a review of air cargo and mail security legislation, with a view to, where deemed necessary, ensuring air cargo security practices and requirements were enhanced to ensure they remained fit for purpose. The EU was one such body and, after a period of consultation with many affected parties (including industry representative groups such as IATA) new air cargo regulations were adopted.


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