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Aviation security: common rules in the field of civil aviation security

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Aviation security: common rules in the field of civil aviation security

Community security measures comprising a range of checks help to guarantee civil aviation security and restore confidence after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.


Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002 establishing common rules in the field of civil aviation security [see amending acts].


Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the Commission has stepped up all aviation security standards. In particular, this Regulation makes the security measures laid down by the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) compulsory within the European Union (EU).

These provisions establish a system of unannounced inspections, introduce more rigorous screening of passengers, luggage and staff, and require Member States to introduce national security programmes and common standards for equipment.

Each Member State must adopt a national civil aviation security programme in order to ensure that common standards are applied. They must also designate a competent authority to be responsible for coordinating and monitoring the implementation of its national quality control programme. That authority may also adopt national security measures applicable to small airports.

The Commission, in cooperation with the competent authority, may conduct unannounced inspections to monitor the application of this Regulation at airports. It sends the inspection report to the Member State concerned. The Member State has three months to remedy any shortcomings.

Furthermore, the Commission, assisted by the Security Committee, should work together with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and ECAC to examine the possibility of developing a mechanism to assess whether flights coming from third-country airports meet the security requirements.


The Regulation provides for the strict application of airport access controls (permanent access controls and background checks on authorised staff) and checks to be carried out on passengers, baggage (cabin and hold) and members of staff, including the crew and their baggage.

These are screened before being allowed into security-restricted areas (areas requiring an access badge). One year after the entry into force of the Regulation, these checks became compulsory in certain ‘critical parts’ of these areas, for example aircraft access areas.

These ‘critical parts’ are to be gradually harmonised throughout the Community within five years of their being adopted by the Commission.

The Annexes to the Regulation set out security measures concerning:

  • airport security;
  • aircraft security;
  • passengers and cabin baggage;
  • hold baggage;
  • cargo, courier and express parcels, mail and air carrier materials.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 [adoption: COD/2001/0234]



OJ L 355 of 30.12.2002

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 849/2004 [adoption: COD/2003/0222]



OJ L 229 of 29.6.2004


Commission Regulation (EC) No 1138/2004 of 21 June 2004 establishing a common definition of critical parts of security-restricted areas at airports [Official Journal L 221 of 22 June 2004].

The critical parts of security-restricted areas are any part of an airport to which departing passengers or baggage have access. The definition applies for the duration of the period in which persons and baggage are present in such places.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 622/2003 of 4 April 2003 laying down measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security [Official Journal L 89 of 5 April 2003].

This Regulation contains detailed implementing measures for improving aviation security. In order to prevent unlawful acts, the Annex to the Regulation is classified, for security reasons, as an ‘EU restricted’ document, which is not for the public domain.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1486/2003 of 22 August 2003 laying down procedures for conducting Commission inspections in the field of civil aviation security [Official Journal L 213 of 23 August 2003].

The Member States and the competent authorities cooperate with the Commission so that inspectors can conduct their inspections in a transparent, effective, harmonised and consistent manner. The Regulation contains rules on the notification, preparation, performance and conclusion of inspections.

Last updated: 21.03.2008