By ALPA Staff
After the House of Representatives introduced its FAA reauthorization bill last week, ALPA quickly voiced our opposition to several components of the draft legislation, including the failure to properly and appropriately regulate the transportation and packaging of lithium batteries by air.
By Capt. Tim Canoll
The proposed FAA reauthorization bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week falls significantly short for airline passengers and air cargo shippers when it comes to advancing the high standards that make air transportation in the United States so extraordinarily safe.
A key reason for the extraordinary safety of our system is our commitment to providing airline pilots with the highest standards of training and qualification. Today’s first officer qualification and training requirements were prompted by Congress in 2010 following four fatal airline accident investigations that identified the pilots’ lack of training as a factor in the accidents. These regulations weren’t arbitrary, nor were they sudden––the safety-focused rules came out of an industry-wide effort led by representatives of the regional airlines. We are pleased the sponsors of the House FAA reauthorization bill recognize the importance of these regulations and agree that they must remain firmly in place. ALPA will vigorously oppose any attempts to change this regulation via amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill.
By Capt. Tim Canoll
Making it safer to fly shipments of lithium batteries that power everything from laptops to mobile phones is a top priority for all ALPA pilots. We aren’t asking to limit or prohibit the individual batteries that passengers carry on board a plane in personal electronic devices; we’re talking about shipments of raw batteries that are transported aboard aircraft as cargo.
Lithium batteries pose a significant safety threat to air transportation because they can self-ignite when damaged, defective, or exposed to a heat source. Recent tests by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found that as few as eight lithium-ion batteries contained in a pallet shipment can contribute to an explosion on board an aircraft. Unlike a fire on a car or truck, it’s not possible to pull over when you’re flying at 35,000 feet.
By Captain Chuck Dyer, FedEx MEC Chairman
My fellow pilots at FedEx are engaged in a struggle that I believe poses one of the greatest threats to our pilots’ health and professional welfare imaginable. As you may recall, a few years back, UPS Flight 6 caught fire in the skies of Arabia a few minutes after takeoff, and before the crew could safely land the aircraft, both pilots perished and the aircraft was lost. It was discovered that this fire was caused by lithium batteries—to be clear, more than 80,000 lithium batteries. That’s right, more than 80,000 of them.
Read Capt. Canoll’s opinion piece published today in The Hill where he calls on Congress, as it considers reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, to regulate shipments of lithium batteries because lives depend on it.