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The European Union Import Control System - AIRFREIGHT
Requirements from January 2011

From 1 January 2011, it will be mandatory for Airlines to provide customs authorities with advance consignment information for goods being brought into the customs territory of the European Union (EU).
EU legislation requires that an electronic entry summary declaration (ENS) must be lodged within the Import Control System (ICS) before arrival at the first point of entry of the EU.
The ENS is a separate requirement to what is required under UK regulations and therefore additional to the import fiscal declarations that are ordinarily submitted to UK Customs.
ENS declarations must be transmitted and validated by the appropriate customs authority within the following timescales:

  • No less than 4 hours prior to the arrival into the EU of flights over 4 hours duration
  • On departure for flights under 4 hours duration
In order to comply with EU legislation, airlines will require customers to provide full and accurate information that we will pass to the customs authorities. This applies to all master air waybills, house air waybills and courier documents.

Customer data entry options

The information on this page is designed to make sure freight forwarders are fully aware of the options available to them for the capture and transmission of data to the appropriate customs authority.

Option 1. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

This will no doubt be the airlines preferred method of receiving data prior to the arrival of the freight at their facilities.

Option 2. Online web form

For some airlines, an online web facility (like for BA) will be offering a webDoc service; a set of online web forms that allows forwarders to easily and quickly create the various documents and electronic messages that are required to meet the new EU regulations. Master air waybill, House air waybill and freight labels can be entered online and following successful validation, documents will be transmitted to airlines’ sheds.

Option 1 and 2 will help reduce workload. These services are provided by airlines and attract lower customs transaction fees.

Option 3. Paper waybills

This will no doubt be the airlines least preferred option as data has to be re-entered and consequently attracts the highest customs transaction fees.
Airlines will need to enter the data from the master air waybill, any house air waybill or courier voucher presented with the freight.

For all options - Data accuracy

For all data passed to airlines, either electronically or by paper the following rules apply.

On a master air waybill or courier document the full consignee name and address MUST be shown in the correct format irrespective of the country for which the goods are ultimately destined.

A full and complete description of goods must be made in order to comply with European guidelines. The shipper or his agent must ensure that documents are completed in accordance with IATA regulations and comply with EU regulations.