TSA Rule Requires 100% Screening of All Cargo on Passenger Aircraft by Aug. 2010

On September 16, 2009, the Transportation Security Commission (TSA) issued an interim final rule in the Federal Register codifying a statutory requirement of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act to establish a system to screen 100% of cargo transported on passenger aircraft by August 3, 2010. 

The rule applies to U.S. aircraft operators with full programs as defined under 49 C.F.R. §1544.101(a) and foreign air carriers with security programs defined under 49 C.F.R. §1546.101(a) or (b). The same standards are applied to U.S. and foreign aircraft operators however, only cargo loaded in the U.S. is affected. This rule does not apply to U.S. or foreign all-cargo operators or to general aviation operations. 

TSA concluded that aircraft operators do not have the capacity to screen all of air cargo which amounts to approximately 12 million pounds of cargo daily. Accordingly, TSA will establish the Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) to allow entities other that aircraft operators to conduct the screenings off-site. Under the CCSP, shippers, manufacturers, warehousing entities, distributors, third party logistics companies, and Indirect Air Carriers (IACs) that are located in the U.S. may apply to become certified cargo screening facilities (CCSFs). 

Approved CCSFs will be subject to recertification every 36 months. The facilities will be required to use TSA-approved methods and to implement a chain of custody for the off-site cargo, including the use of tamper evident technology. 

The rule becomes effective November 16, 2009. Comments on this rule must be submitted to TSA by the end of November 15, 2009.