Airport Communication Programme (AIRCOP)

In the last few years, West Africa has progressively become one of the world's major transit areas for cocaine trafficking between Latin America and Europe. Cocaine is shipped to West Africa mainly by sea and air, but the bulk of air trafficking takes place using couriers or the postal system. Couriers are persons smuggling drugs using commercial airlines. Although there are few direct flights between Latin America and West Africa, couriers use transit airports in other parts of the globe before arriving to their destination in the region or use West African airports as points of departure to reach consumer markets in Europe.

To combat this growing trend, UNODC, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) have joined forces along with twenty-four countries in Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean in the design and execution of the Airport Communication Programme (AIRCOP). Funded by the European Union, the programme aims to facilitate joint investigations and rapid exchange of operational information between law enforcement agencies to promote intelligence‐led investigations for intercepting drugs in participating countries.


The overall objective is to build drug-interdiction capacities at international airports in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean by:

  • Establishing Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITF) and connecting them to international law enforcement databases and communication networks;
  • Providing the necessary equipment to support operational drug detection teams;
  • Enhancing skills through methods and techniques of risk analysis, drug detection, search methodology, interrogation and criminal network investigation;
  • Assisting in the coordination of joint international operations to identify and dismantle criminal networks.

Additional Information

AIRCOP in Latin America and Caribbean