Release #09.83
November 24, 2009

Pilots Welcome U.S. House Committee Call to Regulate Lithium Battery Shipments on Airliners

WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), applauds the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for resisting pressure from airlines and battery interests and issuing a strong mandate to fully regulate the shipment of lithium batteries on airliners in its recently passed version of the Hazardous Material Transportation Safety Act of 2009 (H.R.4016).

“ALPA has long led the charge to regulate lithium battery shipments and warned of the dangers they pose to the traveling public if they are not treated as hazardous materials,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “It’s gratifying that Congress has seized this opportunity to better protect airline passengers, crews, and cargo by calling for fully regulating lithium battery shipments on airliners. We commend Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello for their outstanding leadership.”

The committee vote to adopt the Hazardous Material Transportation Safety Act of 2009 with the language in support of regulatory action came on the heels of a U.S. House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials field hearing in Baltimore at which First Officer Mark Rogers, director of ALPA’s Dangerous Goods Programs, testified on November 16.

In addition, Prater sent a letter on November 18 to Congress pointing out the fire risk that damaged, defective, or improperly packaged battery shipments can pose. He called for regulating lithium batteries as a hazardous material and for enhanced requirements for marking, labeling, testing, packaging, and notifying the pilot-in-command.

“While we anticipate the pressure will continue from the airlines, the battery industry, and others to strip out or weaken these crucial provisions, Congress must not waver from pressing for the regulations we know are desperately needed to protect the traveling public,” said Rogers. The Hazardous Material Transportation Safety Act of 2009 is expected to be considered by the full U.S. House in the coming weeks.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada.


Contact: ALPA Media Relations, 703/481-4440 or