AIRCOP was initially designed in 2010 as part of the European Union's Cocaine Route Programme to curb cocaine trafficking on passengers, in cargo and mail, from source countries in Latin America - via the Caribbean and Africa - to Europe.

The increased capacity and knowledge of trained personnel has led to the expansion of the project scope to cover the multiple threats targeting airports, including all illicit drugs, illicit goods (such as wildlife, counterfeit medicines or weapons) and, as of late, terrorism and trafficking in persons.

The project has also expanded its geographical coverage and currently includes airports in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East. As such, AIRCOP is a key component of an integrated approach to border control management.

AIRCOP is implemented around 3 pillars:

            
Funded by the European Union under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace
    
     
AIRCOP also receives contributions from Canada, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States of America.
     

AIRCOP supports inter- agency cooperation through  the    establishment and   operationalization of inter  agency Joint Airport  Interdiction Task Forces (JAITFs), bringing together law enforcement  agencies operating at airports.  

 

AIRCOP facilitates    secure real-time transmission and sharing of information between law enforcement services at national, regional and international levels, including through connection to INTERPOL I-24/7 databases, and the CENcomm system of WCO.                                            

 

AIRCOP promotes an intelligence-led approach by providing JAITFs with basic and specialized      training  and mentoring.  JAITFs also participate in exchange programmes and are engaged in international joint operations during which controls are heightened at selected airports.  

 

AIRCOP contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Development Agenda 2030.