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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #13-0183 ([Alaska Airlines] [Mr. Mike Tobin])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Alaska Airlines

Individual Name: Mr. Mike Tobin

Location State: WA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

February 11, 2014

Mr. Mike Tobin
Manager Dangerous Goods
Alaska Airlines
P.O. Box 68900
Seattle, WA  98168

Ref. No.: 13-0183

Dear Mr. Tobin:

This is in response to your August 30, 2013 letter requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO TI) applicable to the transportation of lithium batteries.  In your letter you note that US Variation 1 in the ICAO TI requires compliance with all applicable requirements of Part 175 including cargo location and a requirement for packages not authorized aboard a passenger aircraft to display a CARGO ONLY AIRCRAFT (CAO) label.  You ask if packages containing lithium metal batteries and cells (UN 3090) and lithium metal batteries and cells contained in or packed with equipment (UN 3091) prepared in accordance with section II of packing instructions 968, 969, and 970 in the ICAO TI are forbidden to be loaded in an inaccessible location on aircraft not carrying passengers, such as an inaccessible unit load device in a Class E main deck compartment.  

The answer is no. Lithium metal batteries and cells (UN 3090) and lithium metal batteries and cells packed with or contained in equipment (UN3091) transported in accordance with Section II of packing instructions 968, 969, or 970 in the ICAO TI and US State Variation 2 are not subject to the inaccessible loading restrictions in §175.75 (see § 172.102(c)(1) special provision 188) .  Further, unless specified in US Variation 2, such packages are not required to be labeled with the CARGO ONLY AIRCRAFT label.  You note that §§ 175.30(a) and 175.30(a)(4) prohibits acceptance of hazardous materials unless the operator has ensured the hazardous material is labeled with a “CARGO AIRCRAFT ONLY” label if the material as presented is not permitted aboard passenger-carrying aircraft.  While it is reasonable to make the assumption that the CAO label is required on these packages offered in accordance with the ICAO TI, this is not the case.  US State Variation 2 is clear that packages of UN 3090 and UN 3091 prepared in accordance with Section II of packing instructions 968, 969, and 970 do not require the CAO label.  It is not the intent of this office to require the CAO label on packages of lithium batteries offered under Section II of packing instructions 968, 969, and 970 of the ICAO TI.

I hope this information is helpful.  If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact this office.


Duane A. Pfund
International Standards Coordinator
Standards and Rulemaking Division

175.30, 175.75

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
175.30 Inspecting shipments
175.75 Quantity limitations and cargo location