ACC3: Are you ready?

“Promises and pie crusts are made to be broken,” observed the 18th century writer, Jonathan Swift. But one promise best kept, is the one many airlines made back in early 2012. That promise, by carriers bringing cargo into Europe was embodied in a declaration of commitment signed with the European Union which accorded them ‘ACC3’ status. But that was the easy part. With a 1 July deadline for validation fast approaching, carriers brining cargo into Europe risk being banned should they break that promise. Donald Urquhart reports.


ACC3: Are you ready?


This commitment the carriers made, comprised a raft of promises that in effect said the signatories were good operators, doing a good job, to a good standard and would not accept cargo that was not safe or secure, nor would they accept cargo of which they were not aware of what it was, where it originated and how it was treated from a security perspective.

But far more than simple a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ the carriers agreed to a timeline specifying that by 1 July 2014 they would independently validate their facilities, processes and partners at their last points of departure into Europe. “In addition to promising that your security processes and documented procedures are true, accurate, complete and up-todate, you have to actually prove they are operationally implemented,” said Mike Woodall, head of independent validation and regulatory engagement at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said. Failing to comply with these requirements by the given date potentially means being denied the ability to bring cargo into Europe.

The ACC3, more formally known in unwieldy regulatory parlance as the ‘Air Cargo or Mail Carrier operating into the Union from a Third Country Airport regulation, is one of the most important pieces of new air cargo security legislation to have emerged in recent times. The ACC3 is a direct result of the Yemen cargo bomb plot in October 2010 in which printer cartridge bombs were successfully loaded onto two aircraft and flown into multiple countries, but both detected before they were detonated.