Skip to content

Standard 3 and the future of airport security

Manuel T. Rodríguez Jiménez

Manuel T. Rodríguez Jiménez

AERTEC / Airport Planning & Design


First and foremost, let’s clarify the legal aspects of this subject. EU Regulation No. 1087/2011 of October 27th, 2011, which modifies EU Regulation No. 185/2010, establishes the detailed measures to be applied regarding basic common standards for air transport security, specifically related to the detection of explosives.

The regulation indicates in point 12.4.10: that standard 3 must be applied to all EDS installed as of September 1st, 2014.

And in the following sections: that all EDS should be adapted to standard 3 by September 1st, 2020 at the latest, except cases where point 12.4.8 applies. And finally, in an earlier point, the following is mentioned:

The relevant authority may allow EDS in compliance with standard 2 that were installed between January 1st, 2011 and September 1st, 2014 to be used until September 1st 2022.

Since September 1st, 2014, all automated baggage inspection equipment installed in Europe have to be in compliance with standard 3 (tomographic)

So, what does this all mean?

Well let’s break it down bit by bit.

What is an EDS?

EDS is the abbreviation of Explosive Detection System, and in general it refers to most types of automated explosive detection systems.

What is standard 3?

First of all, it must not be confused with inspection Level 3, which we will explain in another post. Standard 3 is a framework, operated by the ECAC (European Civil Aviation Conference) that regulates and certifies the minimum required levels of detection. In the ECAC website there is PDF document containing a list of the certified equipment as of November 2017 (VIEW)(Explosive Detection Systems (EDS) section). In order to achieve the detection levels required by this standard, only CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) type detectors can be used, such as those detailed in the aforementioned list.

And what about standard 2?

This standard details simpler detection equipment, normally based on dual source x-ray equipment (vertical and horizontal). This allows two images of a piece of baggage to be obtained simultaneously, leading to the detection of explosives. Compliance to this standard can be achieved in some cases by updating standard single source x-ray equipment (standard 1 equipment).

In summary, from September 1st, 2014, all automated baggage inspection equipment installed in Europe and also in a number of countries around Europe have to be in compliance with standard 3 (tomographic). All standard 1 equipment that can be updated to standard 2, or equipment already rated standard 2, will have to be replaced by September 1st, 2022.

Is your airport prepared for this short/medium term investment?



• AENA Airports security information



Share this article