January 16, 2014
ALPA Priority of Safety Tops NTSB Most Wanted List for 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) issued the following statement in response to the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB's) annual Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements.
“For years, ALPA has been a leading voice to improve fire safety, especially with respect to lithium battery transportation by air and to mitigate the risks posed by smoke, fire, and fume events. We are encouraged that the NTSB recognizes this as a safety priority with the potential fire hazards associated with shipping lithium batteries in large quantities by air. The danger is increased as lithium battery fires are difficult to extinguish in the best of circumstances, much less tens of thousands of feet in the air.
“Current U.S. regulations allow exceptions for a large number of lithium batteries in a single package, and any number of packages on an airplane. These batteries could be transported without a flight crew ever being aware of the potential risk. At the very least, shipments of lithium batteries by air, especially large quantities, should be held to the same standards in place for the thousands of other less potentially dangerous commodities classified as hazardous materials.
“Although the current list does not include improved safety of airport surface operations, as it did last year, we are encouraged at the Board's recognition that this must continue to be a priority issue in aviation safety. ALPA remains committed to working with our government and industry partners to continue to address runway excursions and incursions as critical safety issues.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 50,000 pilots at 32 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or Media@alpa.org