Angel Collaku, manager of the compliance & enforcement division of the FAA, spoke to almost 300 attendees at the COSTHA annual forum today, saying that “lithium batteries are today’s greatest threat to aviation safety.”
Collaku spent some time talking to us about carrier and shipper inspections in addition to debunking some misconceptions about lithium batteries. Here were two that he mentioned.
Misconception: There has never been a case involving a lithium battery fire that as resulted from shipment of a package that was fully in compliance with the HMR.
Collaku said that this statement misconstrues the HMR. 49 CFR 173.21(c) states the offering for transportation or transportation of batteries and battery powered devices.
Misconception: Industry asserts that the FAA is not pursuing enforcement in lithium battery related cases involving violation of the HMR. Apparently a letter was sent to the DOT asserting this in mid-2011 by someone in the industry. This is a misconception. FAA has indeed taken enforcement action against shippers and is pursuing leads provided by industry.