Frequently Asked Questions
What are dangerous goods?
Dangerous Goods are items that may endanger the safety of an aircraft or persons on board the aircraft. Dangerous Goods are also known as restricted articles, hazardous materials and dangerous cargo. Many common items found in your household can be considered dangerous goods for the purpose of air transport.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) or the local Civil Aviation Authority Regulations govern their carriage onboard aircraft.
How do I know if my product is a dangerous good?
The Regulations place the responsibility for correct classification of dangerous goods on the shipper. The classification criteria for each class and division of dangerous goods are stipulated in DGR Section 3.
Advice on the correct classification of a substance should be sought from the manufacturer or distributor of the substance. In addition, classification may be performed by an accredited testing laboratory or advice can be sought from the competent authority.
I have a shipment of electronic equipment containing lithium batteries, is it classified as a dangerous good?
Yes, but it may be exempted from the need of formal declaration. Check Section II of the applicable packing instruction in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. Or our lithium battery guidance document
How do I know if my Lithium batteries meet the requirements of the “UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, subsection 38.3”?
Check with the manufacturer or distributor for recent production information. Battery manufacturers and distributors may have such information on their corporate websites, or through their technical support lines. It is important to note that Material Safety Data Sheets are not required in transport and not required at all for articles. This information could therefore be presented in Product Data Sheets, directly on the website, or other formats.
The material safety data sheet (MSDS) that I have from the manufacturer really does not help to determine the correct classification and proper shipping name. What can I do?
Unfortunately many MSDS do not provide accurate classification for transport purposes. You should further inquire with the manufacturer or distributor or have the product tested by an authorized laboratory.
What's the relationship between the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and the ICAO Technical Instructions?
The IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations is a "field manual" version of the ICAO Technical Instructions. Written and edited by airline dangerous goods experts, the Dangerous Goods Regulations present the requirements for shipping dangerous goods by air in a user friendly, easy to interpret format.
The DGR also includes additional information which can assist shippers in making sure their consignments are in compliance and will be accepted quickly and easily by the airlines. As IATA airlines are somewhat stricter in their requirements than the ICAO Technical Instructions, the DGR specifies more precisely how to prepare a shipment.
We have done everything correct but the airline has refused to carry our shipment. What can we do?
Talk to the airline and try to get as much information as possible. Check the State and operator variations of Section 2 of the IATA DGR: Have you observed all variations? Is there any likelihood the shipment may have been damaged on its way to the airport? Bear in mind that Paragraph 1.2.4 of the IATA DGR clearly stipulates that airlines are not obliged to transport a particular substance or product. They are free to impose requirements beyond and above the regulations.
Why do I have to declare lithium batteries as dangerous goods for Cargo Aircraft Only according to US State variations if I do not send them to or from the US?
Many long haul flights have at least a fuelling stop at US destinations such as Anchorage. That brings US variations into effect.
What is a "full" address?
While there is no definition of a "full address" in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, we recommend that a full address be an address indicating a physical location that would be acceptable in the post (mail) in that country. This means that abbreviations would be completely acceptable.
Examples of these abbreviations could be USA, UAE, AUS or TX, QC, NSW.
Where can I get UN specification packaging?
Appendix F in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations contains a list of companies around the world that can supply the packaging you require.
Can I use any fiberboard box to meet the limited quantity provisions?
No. It is a myth that just any cardboard box will do to meet the requirements. Under the Limited Quantity provisions the fiberboard box must meet certain specifications and be capable of specified drop and stacking tests.
Limited Quantity packaging is combination packaging, with inner packaging inside an outer package. The inners and outers must be constructed according to the same criteria as UN specification packaging. The inners must meet the construction criteria of DGR 6.1 and the outer the construction criteria of 6.2. So if you have glass inners - DGR 6.1.1 applies, and if you have a fiberboard outer DGR 6.2.10 applies.
Almost all the General Packaging Requirements of DGR 5.0.2 and 5.0.3 for shipping dangerous goods by air apply. DGR 188.8.131.52 explains which requirements do not apply.
The main difference between the UN specification package and the Limited Quantity one is the testing. The Limited Quantity packaging, when packed as for transport must be capable of withstanding a 1.2 meter drop test in a position most likely to cause most damage, without leakage, and be capable of withstanding, without breakage or leakage a 24 hour stacking test.
Disclaimer for Check Before You Pack Video
Disclaimer:"Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Civil Aviation Department Hong Kong shall not be held responsible for loss or damage caused by errors, omissions, misprints or misinterpretation of the contents hereof. Furthermore, Civil Aviation Department Hong Kong disclaim all and any liability to any person in respect of anything done or omitted and the consequences of anything done or omitted, by any such person in reliance on the contents of this video".
Passenger's dangerous goods