7 August 2014
South Africa’s air cargo security systems have been given the thumbs-up by both the European Union and the United States’ Transport Security Administration.
South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) director Poppy Khoza said this week that South Africa was the only country in Africa to receive this dual affirmation.
“This essentially means that, following audits by the European Union and the United States, South Africa is acknowledged as one of the countries where the level of aviation security is regarded as robust and reliable,” Khoza said. “This will benefit air carriers operating between South Africa and the two regions.”
In the case of the US, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) carries out yearly assessments of South Africa’s aviation security regime, with the last audit conducted in June.
The results of the audit indicate that South Africa did not attract any findings or observation and in some instances, the standards were found to be higher than in previous years.
“The TSA audit comes after almost a year since the CAA and the TSA concluded a recognition agreement on air cargo security programmes, thus acknowledging that South African systems are on par with the stringent requirements of the USA,” Khoza said.
“This agreement also enhances air cargo security measures and initiatives between the two countries. Most significantly, the agreement enables quicker facilitation of goods between the two countries, and helps eradicate duplicative or redundant measures while still ensuring the highest levels of security that both the TSA and the CAA require.”
The European Union (EU) recognition means that South Africa has been included in the list of countries where air carriers are exempted from the application of the ACC3 (Air cargo and mail carrier operation into the EU from a third-country airport) regime, the requirements of which are viewed as stringent to operators from countries outside the EU.
In terms of the ACC3 process, carriers wishing to carry cargo into the EU have to request ACC3 status, which requires rigorous screening of air cargo or the existence of a properly functioning and secure air cargo system.
As from July this year, cargo operators flying to the EU destinations must therefore either hold a valid EU validation report, proving that they have adequate security measures in place, or use the expensive services of EU validators to pronounce their cargo as secured.
“This recognition by the EU is a significant milestone for the country and South African carriers, as this means that they can now benefit from an exemption from the ACC3 regime, provided that the level of risk remains similarly low, commensurate with a robust oversight system being in place,” Khoza said.
She added that it was further acknowledgement that South Africa’s security measures are on a par with those applied in the EU.