The European Commission is upgrading its air cargo security legislation. A brief outline was presented on 4 December at an event organised by Airlines for Europe (A4E) in
The association was incepted in 2016 and gathers members from full-service and low-cost carriers. Their common aim is to stimulate changes that will increase the member’s competitiveness and result in lower air fares, reduce airport and air traffic control costs and lobby the completion of the much discussed Single European Sky.
Today, air cargo security is a top priority issue for the EU, incorporated as a special discipline in the Union’s legislation on aviation security. The scheme is based on the so-called ACC3 ruling on cargo coming into the EU from third countries, ensuring hand search or screening of each shipment. This has been in place since 1 February 2012.
Pre-Loading Advanced Cargo Information
Pre-Loading Advanced Cargo Information (PLACI), obtained using intelligence data and risk analysis, involving different government authorities, will become operational by 15 March 2021.
A recent regulatory update concerns ACC3 cargo and mail. “When the documentation does not comply with the requirements, international standards and best practices, the consignments will be subject to screening before the subsequent flight,” Francesco Faiulo said. In his role as Policy Officer in the Security Unit in the EU’s Directorate-General Mobility and Transport he highlighted the upcoming legislation.
Enhanced background screening
As air cargo is still a people’s business Mr Faiulo also illustrated the enhanced pre-employment background check legislation, coming into effect on 31 December 2020. This background screening will also apply for operational staff in the cyber environment.
Besides, all screening equipment will have to get a ‘EU stamp’ and be saved in a database to ensure harmless deployment and mutual recognition. This should be implemented by October 2020. Mutual recognition is also hoped for between the EU and the UK’s AVSEC after the Brexit, so that the one-stop chain can be maintained.
These enhanced procedures should enable more efficient and seamless cargo streams, which is the 1st point in A4E’s policy manifesto presented to the new European legislators. The organisation - the successor to the Association of European Airlines - also calls for EU support for digitisation and innovation as well as for sustainable air cargo.
The last two topics are closely interlinked, participants in the two panel discussions suggested. Data sharing can lead to process improvement, better use of warehouse space and better efficiency, all of which have a direct impact on sustainability.
Peter Gerber remains optimistic
In a keynote address Lufthansa Cargo CEO Peter Gerber admitted that, over the last few months, the growth of air freight seems to have come to an end. “Demand has dropped by 5%, whereas supply has risen by 1.7%. We are facing overcapacity, which is forcing us to prove our flexibility.”
However, Mr Gerber is convinced that the market will pick up again in the near future, growing 3 to 4%, due to the world’s population increase and the fact that poverty is shrinking. “More people have money to spend and they will do this globally. In this respect, there is always a portion for air cargo.”
Apart from LCAG’s Mr Gerber, Cargolux CEO Richard Forson, Finnair Cargo’s MD Mikko Tainio and AF-KLM’s Executive VP Marcel de Nooijer participated in the forum.
For Mr de Nooijer it was probably one of his last performances in the cargo business, as he is taking over as CEO of leisure carrier Transavia as of 1 January 2020.
LCAG, AF-KL-MP and Cargolux are 3 of A4E’s total members that operate all-cargo aircraft. In total, 80% of the 15 A4E member airlines fly cargo, most of them in the lower deck compartments of their passenger fleets.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels
We always welcome your comments to our articles. However, we can only publish them when the sender name is authentic.