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Allied Pilots Association Praises Federal Authorities for Addressing “Unacceptable Risk” Posed by Lithium-Ion Cells and Batteries

FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 28, 2019) — The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, expressed its appreciation to federal regulators and lawmakers for moving forward with a ban on shipping lithium-ion cells and batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft.

The U.S. Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) unveiled the new rules in response to legislation mandating them by early 2019. The rules mirror those already in force in other countries.

“We applaud Congress and PMHSA for taking this important step to protect the safety of the traveling public,” said APA President Capt. Daniel F. Carey. “Shipping lithium-ion cells and batteries in passenger aircraft poses an unacceptable risk. A battery-fed fire can bring down a jetliner.”

A 2015 working paper by plane makers, including Boeing Co., reported that current firefighting systems were not adequate to “suppress or extinguish a fire involving significant quantities of lithium batteries.” PHMSA said it was finalizing the rules on an expedited basis to address “an immediate safety hazard.”

Carey noted that the APA Government Affairs Committee, in concert with the other members of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations, invested considerable time and effort in Washington, D.C., advocating for the new rules.

“In particular, we want to thank House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen for their leadership on this issue,” he said.

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is AlliedPilots.org. American Airlines is the world’s largest passenger airline.

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