FAA’s haz-mat fines spread responsibility

THE US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has fined FedEx US$689,800 for hazardous materials violations on freighters. Significantly, the FAA also found FedEx guilty of shipper-originating errors, raising carriers’ fears of further fines in the future.

Between June and September 2009, the FAA found FedEx guilty of four counts of accepting hazardous goods inaccurately detailed by its shippers in the corresponding shipping documents, and 89 counts of failing to provide its pilots with complete information concerning hazardous goods in their cargo.

“Pilots must know they are carrying dangerous goods so they can take all necessary safety precautions,” said FAA chief Randy Babbitt. “Shippers and airlines must follow the rules so they are able to move these materials safely.”

A spokesperson for the integrator, Sally Davenport, said the packages more than likely only contained goods technically considered hazardous, such as perfume and paint, although she admitted she was not immediately aware of their contents.

“All of these shipments travelled safely through our system and never posed any danger whatsoever to our aircraft or our crewmembers,” she said.

While many hazardous goods are considered low risk there is a growing increase of serious-risk items being sold online and then improperly shipped without the correct documents, causing a greater chance of toxic spills and fires.

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