SAFTA Features and Benefits

Tamper Evident

IATA calculates that losses of $50 million per year is probably a conservative estimate. The standard method to secure retail trollies and canisters is the use of padlocks and plastic seals which have a limited deterrent effect.

Research shows that most duty-free product theft is opportunistic and often because carts are left unlocked and unsealed in error. It takes seconds for the door of an unsecured cart to be opened and high value goods removed. This often happens when cabin crew have left the aircraft during turn round and the aircraft is under the control of service companies.


The threat from international terrorism is ever present and the prevention of unauthorised packages being hidden in carts and canisters is a major concern for law enforcement agencies. The need for a security device to protect against such an attack was high on the list of requirements when Security Seal Technology engineers were commissioned to reduce the risks associated with theft and protect against terrorist attack.

SAFTA will identify any unauthorised access into a cart either by identifying a forced attack or by changing the seal number in the event a stolen key card is used. In this case the system reports who lost the card and when it was used. In either event the cart should be rejected pending further investigation.

Whistleblower Link


All carts and canisters fitted with the SAFTA electronic seal have a unique identity number recorded in the SAFTA Management System. The SAFTA System relies on every cart and canister being scanned when it passes through a service centre for restocking. The unique service number allocated to each container is logged into SAFTA Management System automatically as part of the data download. By recalling this data and combining all data world-wide an accurate picture of the location of all assets is possible thus improving asset utilisation efficiency. It also assists airlines to identify and protect their own galley stock and prevent them from getting lost or being used by other operators.

The identity of every cart and canister is recorded at each location until it leaves on another flight to another part of the world where the same procedure is followed thus allowing managers to monitor the whereabouts of all their equipment at any given time.


Using the same unique I/D number for all equipment allows managers to maintain up to date maintenance records which in turn, allows for the planning of regular service checks of equipment.

Although not mandatory at present, it is possible that EASA will require all equipment to undergo regular maintenance checks at pre-determined intervals and the SAFTA System makes it possible to know where each cart is at any given time so it can be pulled from service to undergo routine checks.


Good security practice relies on discipline and set procedures being followed. For instance, it is known that a great deal of duty free theft is successful because onboard retail containers are left unlocked and unsealed when staff leave the aircraft for an overnight stop.

Any such occurrence is monitored by SAFTA and in the event of a theft security managers can quickly ascertain if containers were left unlocked. This is a strong management feature of the SAFTA System – it encourages staff to follow set procedures and records whether these routines are followed.


The operating savings from the use of SAFTA will vary between customers but in general terms, electronic locking and sealing will be significantly less than the current administrative costs associated with manual sealing.

The use of the SAFTA system also allows for the electronic creation of flight manifest documentation, again reducing current administrative overhead costs and improving accuracy of data being recorded for audit and compliance requirements.

We are aware of one middle east based airline that use circa 100,000 plastic seals per day; use of SAFTA will eliminate the procurement, storing, allocating and disposal cost of dealing with 36million pieces of single use plastic annually for one airline.


Elimination of single use plastics will aid an airline company in achieving its carbon footprint reduction targets and implementing the SAFTA system to replace the hundreds of millions of plastic seals currently in use, will be a significant contributor towards this.

Plastic seals are a major contributor to Foreign Object Debris (FOD) due to broken and discarded plastic seals which can cause problems inside aircraft; maintenance managers’ report that seat runners are often blocked and cause significant delays removing them when time is at a premium. Some managers’ report seals melted inside ovens making them inoperable because food is tainted by molten plastic.

Electronic sealing eliminates all of these problems and the general consensus is that anything that results in plastic seals no longer being used has to be seriously considered.