National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, DC - National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark V. Rosenker has reiterated the agency's continuing interest in cargo airline safety, noting that while the industry has a good safety record there are improvements that still must be made.
Speaking before the Cargo Airline Association in Washington, D.C. last night, Rosenker said that the cargo industry can take pride in having suffered only 3 fatal crashes in the last 10 years, given the many thousands of operations they fly every year. However, cargo fires still remain a problem that the industry must address.
Cargo aircraft are required only to have a fire detection system, not a fire suppression system, for in- flight cargo fire protection. The NTSB recommended in 1998 that the Federal Aviation Administration explore the possibility of requiring such systems. The FAA has declined to require them, citing the added weight such a system would provide. "The Safety Board continues to encourage the FAA to evaluate currently available systems and promote new technology to reduce weight, increase reliability and create a system whose cost will encourage operators to install them," Rosenker said. In fact, he said, a major cargo carrier has introduced such a system into its aircraft that meets all these criteria.
Undeclared hazardous materials and the lack of airline systems to provide emergency responders consolidated, specific information about the identity, hazard class, quantity and location of all hazardous materials on an aircraft are also continuing concerns of the Safety Board.
The NTSB is completing its investigation into a serious cargo aircraft fire in Philadelphia last year. The Board will consider a final report on that accident at a public Board meeting in December.
NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.