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Enhanced background checks at UK Airports

UK airports have had strict security regulations for many years. As passengers we experience these as we move through the airport, from being asked questions about our luggage at the check-in desk to having our bags and bodies scanned at security. These strict security measures also apply to all staff that work at the airport.

These security measures are in place to keep airports, travellers and staff safe and have become more stringent over the decades due to the increased threat of terrorism. Airport staff must all go through a background screening process in order to obtain an airside pass. Airside as the name suggests is the part of the airport that deals with aircraft servicing and includes both staff who come into direct contact with transport and also a range of people from staff that marshall aircraft and passengers on the ground to people delivering food to planes, to duty free staff delivering to and working in the stores.

Roles that require an airside pass:

  • Pilots

  • Cabin Crew

  • Baggage Handlers

  • Dispatch Staff / Ground Staff

  • Retail Staff

  • Catering Staff

What background checks are needed for an airside pass?

From 1st January 2022, enhanced background checks will become a mandatory regulation in order to obtain Airside passes at UK airports. Enhanced background checks include a standard background check, plus an Accreditation check performed by the UK Government, and must be conducted on anyone going airside unescorted at a UK airport. Enhanced background checks are being introduced as part of the UK Government’s ongoing commitment to aviation security. This is to mitigate the risk of the Insider Threat at British airports.

What is included in an Enhanced Background Check?

Enhanced background checks combine:

  • A standard background check which comprises of:

  • 5 year references and employment history check

  • Basic criminal record checks

  • Identity check

  • An Accreditation check (AC Check), which is undertaken by the UK Government

How do I get an Airside pass?

For most employers and contractors at UK airports there will be a well signposted procedure for applying for an airside pass. If you are applying to work for one of these companies, they will usually have a well-established vetting process to obtain your airside pass on your behalf; in general it is not possible for someone to apply on their own behalf for a pass and they must be sponsored by an organisation that has reason to need one.

Typically the application will go through an ID centre and be dealt with by a specialist background vetting company. They will go through all of the necessary checks, including overseas vetting where required and report back within a reasonable time allowing the new employee to start work.

If you have any questions about any background checks that may be required when you are applying for an aviation role with AeroProfessional then do please feel free to reach out and speak to one of our experience team.


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