TSA Secured Packing Facility to Facilitate Compliance with New Cargo Screening Requirements | Cozen O’Connor
For airlines and airports regulated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the aviation security nomenclature is full of acronyms: airline passengers pass through ASLs (automated control lanes) every day, airlines and airports participate in the TSA’s Action Plan Program (APP) as an alternative to a formal civilian application, and airlines operating in the United States may be required to comply with an Aircraft Operator Standard Security (AOSSP) Program). Now TSA introduces a new program with the required acronym TSA: Secured Packing Facility or SPF.
To help ease the burden of complying with a new cargo screening requirement, TSA is inviting manufacturers, shippers, suppliers, warehouses, vendors, e-commerce fulfillment centers, and third-party logistics providers into the air cargo supply chain to apply for TSA designation as SPF. SPFs are required to implement a “system of government-approved security controls sufficient to prevent the introduction of concealed explosives into the air cargo supply chain”. Cargo aircraft operators would be allowed to accept cargo from LPS without additional screening, providing significant benefits to the supply chain in the form of reduced lead times and costs.
TSA is implementing the SPF program to help industry comply with new international air cargo security screening requirements. As of June 30, 2021, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency, requires all ICAO member states (including the United States) to apply the same air traffic control measures. security for cargo traveling on board passengers than on all cargo aircraft (previously the applicable control measures differed). Specifically, international air cargo carried on commercial aircraft – whether passenger or cargo – must be (1) screened to a level intended to identify and / or detect the presence of concealed explosive devices or (2) be subject to appropriate security controls throughout the supply of cargo. chain to prevent the introduction of concealed explosive devices.
Obtaining an SPF designation is not mandatory. Rather, the TSA “provides the opportunity for supply chain entities to choose to be regulated by the TSA as an alternative to the potential burden associated with the international requirement to screen cargo that has not been otherwise subject to regulation. physical security measures ”. To become an SPF, interested entities must first apply for and be recognized by the TSA as an indirect air carrier (existing TSIs can apply to become an SPF.) Once approved as an IAC, the entity can request to operate as an SPF by submitting an SPF Application, which includes a written plan describing how the SPF will implement the TSA “SPF command” requirements and meet certain performance-based standards. Since the SPF Order contains Sensitive Security Information (SSI), it will be provided to the applicant in accordance with SSI procedures and is not publicly available.
Airlines and entities dependent on an efficient and secure air cargo supply chain have good reason to welcome the development of the SPF program. The SPF will provide an alternative approach to meet and potentially reduce the burden of the new ICAO control requirements. However, entities considering participating in the program should also understand the legal implications of becoming an SPF. For example, to become an SPF, the entity must first become an IAC. CAIs are required to comply with regulatory requirements contained in a TSA Indirect Air Carrier Standard Safety Program. In addition, the TSA opinion states that SPFs must comply with all the requirements of the SPF ordinance. In both cases, under the IAC and SPF programs, entities that do not comply with the applicable requirements would be exposed to an application risk, which could lead to significant civil penalties. Thus, interested parties should ensure that the legal requirements of the SPF program are well understood at the organizational and operational level in order to reduce the risk of liability.
To initiate the SPF application process, interested persons should send an email indicating their interest in becoming an SPF to the TSA. Additional information on the application process is available here.