The air cargo industry is a key element in today’s speed driven global economy, accounting for an estimated 35% of the value of goods exchanged worldwide, against 1 or 2 % of the tonnage. Collectively, AEA member airlines carry 6 million tons of cargo annually, which represents around 10% of their commercial revenues. Air cargo is both part of, and distinct from, the core business of network passenger airlines. 

AEA recognises the importance of air freight to the economy and consumers and is pushing for a smooth functioning of the air cargo sector which entails proper infrastructure, a level playing field for the cargo industry and seamless Customs and Security legislation, in collaboration with third countries.

Cargo Security 

In the aftermath of the 2010 Yemen incident and with the overall aim of strengthening air cargo security while avoiding unnecessary distortion to the international supply chain, customs and civil aviation authorities around the world have started pilot projects which use advanced data risk assessments to assist in the identification of shipments that represent a security threat. In parallel, the European Commission has introduced a new cargo security legislation which requires that supply chains at third country airports from where cargo is flown into the EU must be validated by Independent Validators and certified by EU Member States in order to gain a special ACC3 status (Air Carrier flying Cargo from a 3rd country into the EU).


The AEA has consistently supported the Commission in its task to develop a Union's Customs Code. International freight transport is by its very nature a paperwork-intensive activity. The adoption of a Union's Customs Code creates an opportunity to simplify EU customs procedures and to establish a new pan-European e-customs environment that will boost Europe's global competitiveness. Following the publication of the modernised European Union Customs Code (UCC) in the EU Official Journal in October 2012, the EU Commission has now turned its attention to the implementing provisions which should enter into force on 1st June 2016. Industry stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to the revision cycles of the new UCC. Therefore, AEA and IATA are working closely together to provide comments on the proposed implementing provisions. 

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  • 1 July 2015

    AEA’s cargo leaders call for a competitive European air cargo industry

    Today, airline executives representing the cargo activity of the members of the Association of European Airlines (AEA) met with key MEPs, Commission Directors and Transport Attachés in the European Parliament to discuss the elements needed to ensure a more competitive European air cargo industry.  

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