As required by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007” (9/11 Act), TSA requires 100 percent of cargo transported on passenger aircraft to be screened at a level of security commensurate with the level of security for the screening of passenger checked baggage. The following highlights key provisions of this requirement along with some of the systems TSA has implemented to support the industry in meeting these requirements.
TSA provides a system for industry to screen 100 percent of cargo transported on passenger aircraft.
TSA requires regulated parties to screen cargo using approved screening methods. To support compliance with this requirement, TSA periodically provides a list of air cargo screening technology that has been assessed by TSA. There are two lists, a version that must be protected as containing Security Sensitive Information (SSI) and a non-SSI list. The non-SSI air cargo screening technology list provides industry partners interested in screening cargo an opportunity to review the current qualified cargo screening technologies. The SSI version of the document serves as an official guide for regulated parties to use when procuring screening equipment in accordance with TSA-approved security programs. Any technology purchased from this list must be utilized in accordance with measures identified in a TSA Standard Security Program. This list does not apply to equipment owned by TSA or equipment used in TSA-sponsored tests or test beds. Industry partners may request the secured version after they are approved.
The technology list is divided into three sections:
Devices that have undergone a formal TSA-sponsored test process and are deemed qualified for screening operations. When procuring a device, regulated parties are encouraged to select from the qualified technology section.
Devices conditionally approved for screening operations and are currently undergoing, or are scheduled, for field test activities. These devices have up to 36 months from the date added to the approved technology section to successfully pass TSA's suitability-based field test activities. If a device is unable to pass field test activities within the prescribed 36 months, it will be removed from the approved technology section. Due to this fact, regulated parties who procure a device from the approved technology section do so at their own risk. Additional technologies may be added at TSA's discretion.
The Grandfathered Technology section reflects screening technology that due to advances in detection capabilities and the current intelligence on the evolution of the threat to civil aviation, TSA has determined may no longer be sufficient to properly detect the threats facing civil aviation. Once TSA makes that determination, the particular screening equipment is placed in the Grandfather Technology section with a set expiration date to provide regulated entities sufficient time to procure new screening equipment.
For the Non-SSI version of the Air Cargo Screening Technology List click here for download. Please note that when procuring screening equipment in accordance with TSA-approved security programs, cargo screening technologies must be selected from the SSI version of the Air Cargo Screening Technology List.
Twelve-Five Standard Security Program in an All-Cargo Operation
TSA’s regulations require that each “Part 135” aircraft operator certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operating aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of more than 5670 kg (12,500 pounds) in an all-cargo operation must comply with TSA’s Twelve-Five Standard Security Program requirements. See 49 CFR § 1544.101(e). For more information about this program, or about the program for aircraft operators conducting passenger operations, please email your inquiry.
Full All-Cargo Aircraft Operator Standard Security Program
TSA’s regulations require that each “Part 119” aircraft operator certificated by FAA operating aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of more than 45,500 kg (100,309.3 pounds) carrying cargo and authorized persons and no passengers must comply with TSA’s Full All-Cargo Aircraft Operator Standard Security Program requirements. See 49 CFR § 1544.101(h). For more information about this program,, please email your inquiry.
The security programs involved in all-cargo operations are being updated to meet new international cargo screening requirements by June 2021. TSA will publish the new all-cargo security program for industry comments when the updates are completed.
All cargo tendered for transport by air is subject to a search or inspection in accordance with federal regulations. Any person or entity who tenders cargo for transportation by air must consent to a search or inspection, or their cargo will be refused. Consent to screen authorization is required to ensure that shippers are aware that all shipments are subject to screening. If shippers screen their own cargo under the provisions of the Certified Cargo Screening Program, their shipments are still eligible for TSA screening.
TSA certifies cargo screening facilities located throughout the United States to screen cargo prior to providing it to airlines for transport on passenger flights. See 49 CFR part 1549. The Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) is a practical, supply chain solution, which provides security while ensuring the flow of commerce.
Certified cargo screening facilities must carry out a TSA-approved security program and adhere to strict chain of custody requirements. Cargo must be secured from the time it is screened until it is placed on passenger aircraft for transport. Any facility tendering cargo directly to an aircraft operator, foreign air carrier, or indirect air carrier may apply for the program. This includes:
- Distribution centers
- Third party logistics providers
- Indirect air carriers
- Airport cargo handlers
- Independent cargo screening facilities
TSA Principal Security Inspectors are the primary points of contact for the application process and approval of certified cargo screening facilities certification. If you have additional questions, or if you are interested in becoming a Certified Cargo Screening Program participant, please email your inquiry.
See below for more information on the Certified Cargo Screening Program-Canine Program.
An indirect air carrier refers to any person or entity within the United States, not in possession of a Federal Aviation Administration air carrier operating certificate, which undertakes to engage indirectly in air transportation of property and uses for all or any part of such transportation the services of an air carrier. Each indirect air carrier must adopt and carry out a security program that meets current TSA requirements and is renewed annually. TSA principal security inspectors are responsible for the application process and approval of certification.
Submit your application for the Indirect Air Carrier Program online. Once TSA receives the completed application, it may take approximately 90 to 120 days for final approval.
For further information on the application process or any other cargo related information, please email your inquiry.
Amazon is a TSA approved Indirect Air Carrier. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 National Emergency, Amazon has an urgent need to process approximately 20,000 individuals for Security Threat Assessment (STA) clearances, in order to expedite the processing of new employees to allow them unescorted access to cargo at domestic airports. While Amazon is not asking TSA to waive the vetting requirement, it seeks emergency relief from the process requirements (individual signed and dated application submission) in order to quickly vet these employees so they can immediately begin to move vital cargo shipments throughout the country.
To address this public health emergency, respond to the rapidly evolving pandemic threat and pursuant to the authority of 49 U.S.C. § 114(q), TSA has exempted Amazon from a limited portion of the required STA application process for a period of 120 days. Upon request, TSA will consider granting this Exemption to other entities seeking to process STAs for more than 10,000 applicants to ensure expeditious delivery of products and services to the public during the COVID-19 National Emergency.
For more information, please contact John Beckius, TSA Air Cargo Division’s Executive Director.
TSA requires aircraft operators, foreign air carriers, and IACs to conduct known shipper programs as required by their TSA-approved security programs. See 49 CFR parts 1544, 1546, and 1548. Through the Known Shipper Management System, TSA identifies and approves the known shipper status for qualified shippers to be able to transport their cargo on passenger aircraft. Aircraft operators, foreign air carriers, and IACs must comply with a range of specific security requirements to qualify their clients as known shippers. Shippers interested in transporting goods by air may contact their transportation service provider and request to become a known shipper. For additional information regarding the Known Shipper Management System, please email your inquiry.
TSA established the 3PK9-C program to enhance the screening of air cargo by leveraging the capabilities of third-party explosives detection canine teams. The 3PK9-C program was created under TSA’s Certified Cargo Screening Programs (CCSP), 49 CFR part 1549, to provide an efficient and effective method for screening air cargo to TSA’s standards. Under this program, third-party canine teams trained in explosives detection can be certified by a nongovernmental entity (3PK9-C Certifier), acting under the approval of TSA, as meeting TSA’s certification standards. Canine team providers can become Certified Cargo Screening Facilities-Canine and enter into agreements with TSA-regulated entities to screen cargo in a manner that meets TSA’s cargo screening requirements.
- Certified Cargo Screening Facilities-Canine (CCSF-K9s)
Under this program, third-party explosives detection canine team providers may seek
registration as a Certified Cargo Screening Facility-Canine (CCSF-K9) and adopt the
Certified Cargo Screening Program - Canine (CCSP-K9) under 49 CFR part 1549.
Once registered, a CCSF-K9 may enter into agreements with TSA-regulated entities (such as Aircraft Operators, Foreign Air Carriers, and CCSFs) to deploy Certified 3PK9-C teams to screen air cargo. The TSA-regulated entity must also have a TSA-approved or accepted amendment to its respective security program before it can use a CCSF-K9 to screen air cargo to TSA's requirements.
Companies interested in initiating the process to become a CCSF-K9 may contact TSA at the following email address: 3PK9aircargosecurity@tsa.dhs.gov.
In addition to requirements imposed on CCSF-K9s regarding the procedures for screening cargo, TSA imposes requirements on and conducts oversight of third-party certifiers who determine whether canine teams operating under the 3PK9-C program meet TSA’s certification requirements. Persons interested in becoming a 3PK9-C Certifier must apply to TSA. In general, TSA reviews applications to determine whether:
- The 3PK9-C Certifier applicant demonstrates expert knowledge of critical test and evaluation concepts to certify canine teams for the detection of explosives (for example, management of certification data, explosives training aids, use and safety, etc.).
- The 3PK9-C Certifier applicant demonstrates sufficient past performance and expertise in performing explosive detection canine team certifications.
3PK9-C Certifier applicants are required to attest that they meet or will be able to meet the minimal qualification standards identified above. These minimum requirements must be sustained throughout the applicant's participation in the 3PK9-C Program.
Interested parties can contact 3PKCert@tsa.dhs.gov to obtain information about the certification program.
The cargo engagement team interacts with cargo trade associations, industry, other government agencies and internally within TSA to discuss and review cargo security, solicit industry feedback and recommendations, socialize policy development with industry, and participate in groups such as the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) to facilitate and improve cargo security.