An EU regulation provides common rules for security in civil aviation.  The rules apply to all airports located in the EU other than those exclusively used for military purposes.  They apply to all operators and carriers providing services at these airports.  It also applies to service providers within the airport.  The standards cover

  • airport security,
  • demarcation,
  • aircraft security,
  • passenger and cabin baggage,
  • hold luggage,
  • cargo and mail,
  • supplies,
  • security measures,
  • staff recruitment,
  • security equipment.

The regulations provide for basic common standards.  There are detailed requirements and procedures in relation to implementation.  The EU is advised by a committee of representatives and by advisory groups comprising stakeholder organisations concerned in aviation security.

States must designate a single authority which is responsible for the enforcement and implementation of the standards.  States must implement programs providing for national civil aviation security defining responsibility for implementation of the common basic standards.  They must provide national quality control programs to monitor compliance.

Entities and operators must devise programs dealing with airport carrier security and other entity security as the case may be.  The EU conducts inspections to monitor compliance with basic standards.  The commission may make recommendations which must be implemented by states.  States must establish penalties for infringement and methods of implementation and enforcement.

The EU may enter agreements with non-EU states where the security standards are equivalent to the EU basic common standards.  States must notify the Commission when measures required by a third-party state differ from the common basic standards.

Passenger Data

Council directive requires air carriers to gather and pass passenger data to the authorities of member states of destination who are responsible for their control.  Failure to comply is subject to fine.

Air carriers must communicate passenger information in respect of passengers travelling through an EU border crossing.  This must be supplied to the parties carrying out checks on such a person at borders at their request.  The purpose is to combat illegal immigration. The data which must be forwarded include the following

  • number and type of travel documents,
  • nationality,
  • name and date of birth of passenger,
  • border crossing entry into the EU,
  • departure and arrival time for the transportation,
  • the total number of passengers carried.

The information is retained only for a short period and then must be deleted.

States must create dissuasive sanctions to ensure compliance.  Fines or sanctions may be up to €3000 to €5000 per journey.  In the case of serious breaches provision must be made to immobilise, seize and confiscate the means of transport.  There must be provision for temporary suspension or complete loss of the carrier\’s license.

European Aviation Safety Agency

An EU regulation provides for the establishment of the European Aviation Safety Agency and common rules for air operations, licences and flight crew training.  The purpose of the 2008 regulation is to achieve the single European sky.  The regulation is applicable to the design, production, maintenance and operation of aeronautical products, parts and appliances.  It applies to personnel and organisations involved in the activity.

The Regulation applies to personnel and organisations involved in the operation of an aircraft.  The regulation establishes common rules on aviation safety and security.  It seeks to ensure a level playing field for all persons involved in the internal aviation market and facilitates the free movement of goods and persons by recognition of certificates issued by competent authorities.

The regulation simplifies and enhances the certification process and provides for centralised EU level certification where appropriate.  It promotes the EU\’s policies on civil safety to the world.

The EASA is independent of the EU and has its own legal identity.  It may establish offices within states with their consent.  Its main functions are to assist the commission in developing common rules in the field of civil aviation and provide technical, scientific and administrative support.  It may conduct # practices to ensure compliance by states.  It may issue certificates to EU entities involved in aircraft design and certify that aircrafts used in the EU, certify air carriers, maintenance organisations and training organisations.

The Agency’s tasks include airworthiness, environmental issues, licensing of flight crews, training and operation of aircraft.  The Agency seeks to promote improvements in aviation safety and standards.  It is financed by fees paid for certificates and from funding from the EU Commission, states and other entities and third parties.

Civil aviation security: EU-wide rules

Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation security

It lays down common rules and basic standards on aviation security and on procedures to monitor their implementation.

It applies to all civil airports in the EU, as well as to air carriers and other persons or businesses providing goods or services to or through these airports.

It replaces Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 which was adopted in the wake of the 11 September 2001 events and which established common rules in the field of civil aviation security.

Common basic standards for protecting civil aviation

These standards include, for example:

screening of passengers and cabin baggage to stop prohibited articles, such as weapons and explosives, being carried on board aircraft;
the hold luggage (luggage that passengers check in) is also screened before loading;
airport security (e.g. controlled access to different areas of airports, staff screening and checking of vehicles, as well as surveillance and patrols to prevent unauthorised people from entering these areas);
protection of aircraft and aircraft security checks or searches before departure to ensure that no prohibited articles are on board;
security controls for cargo and mail before being loaded on to aircraft;
security controls for airport supplies (i.e. supplies intended to be sold in duty-free shops and restaurants) and in-flight supplies (e.g. food and drink for passengers);
staff recruitment and training;
security equipment performance (i.e. equipment used for screening and access controls complies with defined specifications and is capable of performing the security controls concerned).

In November 2015, the European Commission adopted Implementing Regulation (EU)2015/1998. It lays down detailed measures for the implementation of these security standards and repealed a previous regulation (Regulation (EU) No 185/2010) which had been amended more than 20 times. Since its adoption, Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1998 has itself been amended several times.

The amendments modify the list of non-EU countries recognised as applying equivalent standards to those of the EU, and introduce new rules regarding:

airport security;
aircraft security;
screening of liquids, aerosols and gels, hold baggage, cargo and mail, in-flight supplies;
staff recruitment and training;
security equipment;
background checks to enhance security culture and resilience;
performance standards;
the use of shoe explosive detection equipment and explosive vapour detection equipment.

Obligations on EU countries and on airports and operators

EU countries must:

designate a single authority responsible for aviation security;
set up a national civil aviation security programme to define responsibilities for implementing the common basic standards;
set up a national quality control programme to check the quality of civil aviation security.
Airports, air carriers and entities must:

define and implement a security programme;
ensure internal quality control.
Commission inspections

The Commission carries out inspections in cooperation with national authorities including unannounced inspections of airports, air carriers and other relevant persons or businesses. Any shortcomings must be remedied by the national authority. National authorities are responsible for primary quality control and enforcement, and therefore must carry out audits and inspections of airports, air carriers and other relevant persons or businesses.

Recognition of equivalent aviation security standards with non-EU countries

The EU may recognise non-EU countries’ aviation security standards as equivalent to EU standards to allow a ‘one-stop security’ system. This means, for example, that passengers arriving at EU airports and transferring to other destinations would no longer need to be re-screened. This would result in faster connection times, lower costs and greater convenience for travellers. ‘One-stop security’ is one of the objectives of EU aviation security legislation.

Application & Background

Implementation reports

Every year, the Commission publishes a report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008. The latest report, relating to 2017, was published in 2019.

It has applied since 28 April 2010.

The following articles have applied since 29 April 2008:

Articles 4(2), 4(3), 4(4), all of which relate to common basic standards except those relating to safeguarding civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference;
Article 8 on cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organisation;
Article 11(2): specifications for national quality control programmes;
Article 15(1) second subparagraph: unannounced inspections by the Commission;
Article 17: Stakeholders’ Advisory Group;
Article 19: Committee procedure; and
Article 21: penalties.

For more information, see:

Aviation Security (European Commission).


Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation security and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 (OJ L 97, 9.4.2008, pp. 72-84)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1998 of 5 November 2015 laying down detailed measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security (OJ L 299, 14.11.2015, pp. 1-142)

See consolidated version.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 72/2010 of 26 January 2010 laying down procedures for conducting Commission inspections in the field of aviation security (OJ L 23, 27.1.2010, pp. 1-5)

See consolidated version.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 1254/2009 of 18 December 2009 setting criteria to allow Member States to derogate from the common basic standards on civil aviation security and to adopt alternative security measures (OJ L 338, 19.12.2009, p. 17)

See consolidated version.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 272/2009 of 2 April 2009 supplementing the common basic standards on civil aviation security laid down in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 91, 3.4.2009, pp. 7-13)

See consolidated version.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council — 2017 annual report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation security (COM(2019) 183 final, 16.4.2019)


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