Though ticketed passengers did not suspect, battery lobbyists had been victorious over the very best commercial aviation safety advocates. Through private meetings, where financial benefits of shipping dangerous lithium batteries to the battery industry by air freight are fostered, did lobbyists convince passenger airline executives to allow carriage onboard passenger commercial flights?
Many commercial aviation safety groups opposed the shipping by air freight, even cargo pilot groups and passenger pilot groups, who by the way hold identical commercial FAA flight ratings. ALPA, CAPA and other pilot industry safety groups have opposed the carriage of lithium batteries as air freight because passenger aircraft carry air freight in their cargo holds. That is correct, there is more than luggage in the cargo hold of passenger flights. There are live animals, mail, company maintenance items and air freight, to include lithium batteries, in these cargo holds. But hundreds of reported lithium battery related fires in flight related incidents have prompted safety groups to advocate regulations prohibiting these shipments.
Now comes along MH370 and Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia and 500 pounds of lithium batteries and 239 ticketed passengers and flight crew and cabin crew. Why did they all come together? Were not the warnings of commercial aviation safety experts sufficient to prevent this confluence of danger? Have the battery lobbyists been victorious in over riding all of the Safety Purpose? We may never know what happened to MH370. But we do know that publicly released statements from Malaysian Airlines document that about 500 pounds of lithium batteries were onboard MH370.
Has there been a victory celebration in the halls of the Lithium Battery Cargo Lobbyists and Battery Industry? Do they consider the defeat of the very best efforts of commercial aviation safety experts to influence government safety regulators in the US and apparently in Malaysia a victory for business over commercial aviation safety?
Will it now be time for the defeated to spend time mourning the loss of family, friends and colleagues who were aboard MH 370, UPS 6, Asiana 991 and other similar tragic disaster flights? How has it become that paid lawyers and public relations experts who are battery industry lobbyists can prevail over the very best efforts of hundreds of commercial aviation safety advocates?