Establishment of real-time operational communication between international airports in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean


Project duration: January 2010 - December 2019

EC Contribution: € 11.335.000

Implementing partners: UNODC (Leader); INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization (WCO)



Overall objective

The overall objective of AIRCOP is to build detection and interdiction capacities for drugs and other illicit goods, as well as high-risk passengers at selected international airports in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. To this end, AIRCOP brings together different law enforcement agencies and associates the private sector (airlines) in order to strengthen capacities in combatting illicit trafficking, organized crime and terrorism. This is now the fourth phase of funding received from the EU. 


Specific objectives

  • Support inter-agency cooperation through the creation of inter-agency joint interdiction task forces or the empowerment of existing structures at selected international airports;
  • Encourage the real-time transmission of information on drugs and other illicit goods as well as high-risk passengers between selected international airports at the national, regional and international levels;
  • Promote an intelligence-led approach to countering illicit trafficking, organized crime and terrorism through capacity-building and world-wide joint operations;



  • Establish Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITFs) at selected international airports, including the provision of office, communication and detection equipment, as required;
  • Install WCO CENcomm communication system and INTERPOL I-24/7 Global Police Communication System at selected international airports;
  • Provide specialized training and mentoring actions;
  • Organize worldwide joint operations for AIRCOP participating countries;
  • Support JAITFs in reaching agreements with airlines companies;
  • Facilitate intelligence and information sharing between the JAITFs, liaison officers and law enforcement agencies at international airports;


Participating countries

  • Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon (Douala and Yaoundé), Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria (Abuja and Lagos), Senegal, South Africa and Togo;
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic (Punta Cana and Santo Domingo), El Salvador, Jamaica (Kingston and Montego Bay), Panama and Peru;


Achievements (as of April 2017)

3950 people trained (20% of women) through 250 training and mentoring actions

2 canine teams trained and operational: Cabo Verde, Senegal

Participation in 24 international joint operations, during which the controls on departing, transiting and arriving passengers were heightened. These include WCO-led COCAIR, INTERPOL-led FOLOSA and ADWENPA, Ailes Africaines of the French customs and Europol Global Airport Action Days, each focusing on specific threats, regions, routes or types of aircrafts.

Since the operationalization of the first JAITFs in 2012, the different task forces recorded over 2400 arrests and seizures, both in passengers and cargo areas.

The seizures amount to: over 17 tons of drugs: including 6,9 tons of cocaine, 2 tons of khat, 4,8 tons of cannabis, 1,7 ton of methamphetamine, 365 kg of heroin, 104 kg of amphetamine and 1,2 ton of drug precursors; 11,6 tons of illicit and counterfeit medicines; US$ 10.1 million of undeclared currency; 9,6 tons of cigarettes and tobacco; 620 kg of ivory; 1,2 ton of pangolin scales; 600 kg of ivory, fake/fraudulent passports and visas; gold; arms and ammunitions;

The JAITFs have also intercepted 8 potential FTFs leaving, transiting or arriving, especially in the Sahel, with arrests recorded by the JAITFs of Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire), Niamey (Niger), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Punta Cana (Santo Domingo). Finally, JAITFs identified 8 victims of human trafficking.


News & events

Periodical updates on key project events and news highlights on the AIRCOP project are available  here


Contact:  UNODC Regional Office for West and Central Africa (Senegal)  

Cécile Plunet

Global Coordinator

Tel : (+221) 33859-9670