EU Science Hub

Aviation security

Aviation security refers to the prevention of acts of unlawful interference against civil aviation, such as seizure of an aircraft or placing a hazardous device onboard an aircraft.

The JRC contributes to aviation security by providing scientific and technical support and advice to policy makers on aspects of measurements, testing and standardisation. Its work includes the development of harmonised technical specifications and performance standards for detection and screening equipment, such as body scanners.

The European Commission is currently defining legally-binding technical specifications and performance requirements for various categories of detection and screening equipment used at EU airports. European conformity testing methodology (CTM) standards are anticipated, aimed to facilitate mutual recognition of nationally approved or certified equipment in a foreseen EU conformity assessment mechanism.

The JRC is contributing to this work, based on its expertise in measurement and testing in chemistry, physics, analytical sciences, measurement technologies and standardisation.

As part of JRC's expansion into the field of aviation security and explosives detection, the institute is currently developing its experimental capacity in this field. It is intended to establish a large-scale testing facility that will equip the European Commission with in-house, independent capability to test aviation security detection technologies (e.g. security scanners, X-ray image scanners, cargo scanners and explosives detection systems).

The new testing centre will enable the JRC to:

  • provide independent, expert advice in detection matters
  • develop and validate performance standards for detection equipment (so-called conformity testing methodologies)
  • develop and validate minimum detection requirements
  • perform pre-normative research
  • produce and verify measurement standards
  • provide rapid support when incidents occur