UK air cargo shipper fined £5,000 over wrong packaging

THE UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued a warning to companies shipping dangerous goods by air to follow the correct procedures to avoid endangering the safety of aircraft.
It comes after the successful prosecution of an aircraft component supplier for sending an oxygen generator by air to the United States in an incorrectly packaged condition.
Burwood Aviation Supplies was fined £5,000 for one breach of the Dangerous Goods Regulations. The company, which pleaded guilty to the offence, arranged transportation of the chemical oxygen generator, which is used to provide emergency oxygen to aircraft passengers and crew, from Stansted Airport on a cargo flight to a company in Kansas, USA.
The exterior of the box bore no indications that it contained dangerous goods and it was not accompanied by the correct documents, says the CAA.
The recipient of the item reported the matter to the US Federal Aviation Administration, which subsequently informed the CAA.
The CAA says it is vital for all companies transporting dangerous goods by air to follow the correct process.
“Anyone found to be in breach of the regulations, and thereby endangering flight safety, can expect to be prosecuted,” says a statement.
The risks associated with chemical oxygen generators are widely known in the aviation industry.
In 1996 a ValuJet DC-9 passenger aircraft, which crashed into the Florida Everglades killing all 105 passengers and five crew members, was carrying 144 chemical oxygen generators as cargo.
They were loosely packed within five unmarked cardboard boxes. Bubblewrap had been wrongly used as cushioning on the top of each box and the boxes were not secured within the cargo hold.
Safety investigators found that the activation of one or more generators in the cargo compartment initiated a fire on the aircraft which led to flight control failure.
In the aftermath of that crash, generators were prohibited from being carried as cargo on passenger aircraft.
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