CAPA Supports Rep. Filner's Amendment on "Lithium Batteries" to the FAA Reauth Bill

Washington, D.C. (March 30, 2011)—The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) which represents over 28,000 commercial passenger and all-cargo cargo pilots fully supports, and applauds, Congressman Bob Filner’s (D-CA) Amendment #18 on “Primary (non-rechargeable) Lithium metal Batteries and cells” to the FAA Reauthorization Bill.

CAPA has long advocated for “One Level of Safety” among all types and levels of air carriers, which includes improved regulations to ensure the safe transportation of lithium-metal based batteries and cells aboard all-cargo airlines. The FAA and the NTSB both issued warnings on the flammability of bulk shipments of Lithium-metal based non-rechargeable batteries and cells on all-cargo aircraft after the recent UPS Flight #6 crash in Dubai.

Lithium battery technology has seen a technological breakthrough in the power and capacity of batteries.
Since the implementation of this technology, the power of those batteries has grown over 600%. Current science shows that a lithium-metal based battery fire will rapidly exceed the existing design specifications of every commercial aircraft. The amendment offered by Rep. Filner addresses the very small segment of non-rechargeable lithium-metal batteries and cells that pose the greatest risk aboard commercial aircraft. These batteries were banned from passenger aircraft by an emergency rule in 2004, why are they are still permitted carriage on all-cargo aircraft?

“The fundamental threat of the advancement of battery technology to aviation safety is that it has outpaced existing procedures and regulations”, said CAPA President Capt. Carl Kuwitzky. He further stated, “We risk another catastrophic event similar to the UPS Flight 6 in Dubai because there is no fire suppression system in existence that is capable of suppressing these types of fires.”

CAPA also supports better identification and tracking of Secondary lithium-battery cargo shipments to ensure careful handling of this type of cargo in all-cargo and passenger aircraft.

“We thank Rep. Filner for his efforts to enhance “One Level of Safety” by eliminating the transport of lithium-metal based batteries and cells aboard all-cargo aircraft”, said Captain Kuwitzky.

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