Airport Community Systems

Most major airports have Airport Community Systems for information exchange between clients and the national Customs and other authorities. These systems are a form of a Single Window for Trade. An Airport Community System (often called a CCS: Cargo Community System) can be defined as a neutral and open electronic platform enabling intelligent and secure information exchange between public and private stakeholders in order to improve the competitive position of airport communities.

Role of the system

An Airport Community System handles electronic communications in airports between private transport operators (airlines, agents, freight forwarders, stevedores, freight depots), the private hinterland (pre- and on-carriage, usually by road), importers and exporters, the airport authorities, Customs and other authorities.

Typical services of an Airport Community System are:

  • information exchange between the transport operators in the airport and for the hinterland connections, the airport users, Customs, airport and other authorities,
  • electronic exchange of Customs declarations and Customs responses, and cargo releases between private parties and Customs,
  • electronic handling of all information regarding import and export of cargo for the airport community,
  • status information and control, tracking and tracing goods through the whole logistics chain, and
  • processing declarations of dangerous goods with the responsible authorities.

One of the most useful functions of an Airport Community System is to automatically derive, from information exchanges between the private port operators, that information needed by Customs, such as the Customs manifest. This information can then be sent to Customs without further manual intervention.
Most Airport Community Systems have their own internal standards, but communicate with other such systems or trade communities using international air-specific standards, in particular IATA standards for EDI (CARGO-IMP) and for XML (through the e-freight initiative of IATA).