There are about 300 flights a day to the U.S. that originate from the 27 EU countries. How the cargo on those planes is screened has been an issue over which the U.S. and EU have negotiated for years. DHS wants our European counterparts to apply the same security standards we do on flights from the U.S. across the Atlantic. With a little help from a Congressional deadline, the European Commission and TSA struck an agreement yesterday to apply U.S. standards for air cargo screening for half of the cargo on U.S.-bound passenger flights by February 2009 and all cargo on all flights by 2010.
The agreement, signed on the 30th by TSA chief Kip Hawley and Zoltan Kazatsay, Deputy DG for Energy and Transport at the European Commission, meets a Congressionally mandated deadline under the 9/11 Commission Act to require screening of 100 percent of cargo on passenger planes by August 2010. Kudos to TSA and the DHS Policy shop for successfully concluding this effort.
Under the agreement, the EU and the U.S. will use the same screening equipment, provide the same training to screeners and impose the same security requirements for the facilities where the cargo is screened. Currently, 95 percent of flights within the U.S. and departing from the U.S. undergo cargo screening.