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Information for air carriers

Air carriers are required to be designated as an 'Air Cargo or Mail Carrier operating into the Union from a Third Country Airport' (ACC3) for each non-EU airport from which they fly cargo or mail into the EU. ACC3s must ensure that all cargo and mail carried to the EU is physically screened to EU standards or comes from a secure supply chain which is EU aviation security validated.

To obtain the ACC3 status an air carrier needs to have subjected its relevant air cargo or mail operations in non-EU countries to an EU aviation security validation. This exercise is carried out by an EU aviation security validator who will assess the air carrier's security programme to ensure its relevance and completeness and will assess the implementation of aviation security measures during an on-site verification of the cargo and mail operations of that air carrier in non-EU countries. The EU aviation security validator will draft a report based on his findings and provide this report to the appropriate authority of the EU Member State that is responsible for the designation of that air carrier as ACC3. Based on this report, the appropriate authority will decide whether the air carrier can be designated as ACC3 for a specific operation.

Air carriers are also required to nominate a person with responsibility for the implementation of cargo and mail requirements and to deliver a 'Declaration of Commitments' concerning the fulfillment of its aviation security responsibilities.

If the air carrier does not comply with these requirements, it will not be designated as ACC3 by the appropriate authority of an EU Member State and will subsequently not be allowed to fly cargo and mail into the EU from a non-EU airport. The designation is valid for a maximum of 5 years.

The EU ACC3 programme does not apply to cargo and mail operations from origins with robust aviation security measures and with an established low risk, as identified through an EU Risk Assessment.

Actions to take

In order for air carriers to be able to subject their relevant air cargo and mail operations to EU aviation security validation, they are recommended to take the following actions.

1. Contact the appropriate authority of the Member State that is responsible for your designation

EU air carriers should contact the appropriate authority of the Member State that issued their Air Operator's Certificate (AOC). Non-EU carriers can locate the responsible appropriate authority by making use of the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 748/2009, as currently amended by Regulation (EC) No 815/2013 , in which air carriers are assigned to one specific Member State.  Non-EU carriers which are not included in this list are advised to contact the appropriate authority of the Member State where they have their major base of operations.

2. Familiarize yourself with the EU requirements

The appropriate authority of the Member State that is responsible for your designation is required to provide you with all necessary EU aviation security requirements, including non-public information. The appropriate authority will also inform you whether you need to apply additional security measures for certain non-EU locations you fly from or whether the ACC3 requirements are waived for certain non-EU locations you fly from.

The basic security requirements for cargo and mail from non-EU countries may be found in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1082/2012 . Attachment 6C-3 contains the checklist which EU aviation security validators will use during the on-site verification.

3. Where necessary, update your business operations at non-EU locations to comply with the requirements

Depending on your business and your current security measures, you may need to update your security programme in respect of the cargo and mail operations from each individual non-EU airport, implement the necessary security requirements, establish a secure supply chain or provide for the necessary screening equipment.

4. Investigate which of the provided designation options suits your business operations best

The EU regulations provide two different ACC3 designation options for air carriers and two designation options for their business partners. The system provides flexibility to the entities involved to choose the option which suits their business operations best.

In option 1, an on-site verification at a non-EU airport is necessary before designation is granted for that specific airport. In option 2, air carriers which operate several relevant cargo or mail operations and which apply an internal security quality assurance programme that is equivalent to EU aviation security validation may request on-site validations at a representative number of airports. Further conditions apply and need to be discussed with the appropriate authority of the Member State responsible for your ACC3 designations.

Entities from which you receive cargo or mail may either be validated as part of your on-site verification or may submit their relevant cargo handling entities to validation by an EU aviation security validator themselves. In the second case, you must ask for the validation report as proof of the successful validation. In both cases, the entity must be entered in your database with all relevant information in order to establish a secure supply chain link. 

5. Contact an EU aviation security validator to carry out the necessary validations

EU aviation security validations may only be carried out by EU aviation security validators approved by EU Member States. These may be private entities or individuals and are listed in an EU database . The appropriate authorities of EU Member States may undertake EU aviation security validations through their own staff or empowered agencies.