July 25, 2013
ALPA: New Report on UPS Crash Underscores Lithium Battery Threat
The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) praised the United Arab Emirates (UAE) General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for its thoroughness in the investigation of the UPS Flight 6 crash on Sept. 3, 2010, near Dubai, UAE, as reflected in its final report released earlier today. The GCAA worked closely with its international partners and fully developed a description of the causes of the accident. The report makes unmistakably clear the dangers of carrying large quantities of lithium batteries on aircraft.
ALPA joins with the GCAA in calling for complete synchronization of the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations with the ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air regarding lithium batteries, and urges that additional steps be taken to ensure the safety of lithium battery transport. ALPA also strongly believes that the United States must take a leadership role in protecting aircraft against the possibility of catastrophic fires caused by lithium batteries. The improvement in regulations covering the transportation of large quantities of lithium batteries must proceed immediately in order to begin to eliminate this deadly hazard.
“The time to act is now and the way to act is clear,” said Capt. Lee Moak, president of ALPA. “As ALPA has stated consistently, we strongly believe that the United States must take a leadership role in protecting aircraft against the possibility of catastrophic fires caused by lithium batteries. As pilots, our most important goal is the safety of our skies, and so we urge the United States to adopt the ICAO provisions domestically and take additional steps to ensure the safety of lithium battery transport.”
The Association made its position known through formal comments submitted to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on March 8, 2013.
ALPA noted as well that the GCAA accident report highlights the additional threat to pilots, regardless of the contents of their aircraft, of continuously generated smoke and its potentially deadly impact on the pilots’ ability to safely operate their aircraft. The dual threats must be aggressively and effectively addressed and mitigated to ensure the safety of flight for both cargo and passenger aircraft.
“ALPA will continue to work with industry and government leaders to identify and reduce the hazards of both lithium battery transportation and continuously generated smoke,” continued Capt. Moak. “We see the full adoption of the ICAO provisions as a step in the right direction, but it is simply a first step, not a cure-all solution.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 50,000 pilots at 33 airlines in the United States and Canada.
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CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or Media@alpa.org