[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 241 (Friday, December 13, 1996)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 65479-65480]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-31648]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Research and Special Programs Administration

49 CFR Chapter I

[Notice No. 96-25]


Advisory Notice: Transportation of Air Carrier Company Materials 
(COMAT) by Aircraft

AGENCY: Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), DOT.

ACTION: Advisory guidance.

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SUMMARY: This document provides advisory guidance as to the extent and 
application of exceptions from the Hazardous Materials Regulations 
applicable to the transportation of an air carrier's company materials.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward T. Mazzullo, Director, Office 
of Hazardous Materials Standards, RSPA, Department of Transportation, 
400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590-0001, Telephone (202) 
366-8553.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In testimony at a recent hearing conducted 
by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and in a position 
paper prepared for the hearing by the Air Line Pilots Association 
(ALPA), concerns were expressed with regard to the provisions of 
Sec. 175.10(a)(2) of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR 
Parts 171-80), applicable to an air carrier's transportation of its own 
company materials (COMAT). This advisory guidance is being issued to 
clarify the application of these provisions of the HMR and to overcome 
a number of apparent misunderstandings of them.
    Part 175 of the HMR is entitled ``Carriage By Aircraft'' and 
applies to the acceptance for transportation, loading, and 
transportation of hazardous materials in any aircraft in the United 
States and in aircraft of U.S. registry anywhere in air commerce. 
Section 175.10 of the part is entitled ``Exceptions.'' Paragraph (a)(2) 
of the section (herein referred to as the COMAT exception) follows an 
introduction stating ``This subchapter [the HMR] does not apply to:'' 
and reads as follows:

    (2) Hazardous materials required aboard an aircraft in 
accordance with the applicable airworthiness requirements and 
operating regulations. Unless otherwise approved by the Associate 
Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, items of replacement 
for such hazardous materials must be transported in accordance with 
this subchapter except that--
    (i) In place of the required packagings, packagings specially 
designed for the

[[Page 65480]]

transport of aircraft spares and supplies may be used, provided such 
packagings provide at least an equivalent level of protection to 
those that would be required by this subchapter;
    (ii) Aircraft batteries are not subject to quantity limitations 
such as those provided in Sec. 172.101 or Sec. 175.75(a) of this 
subchapter; and, (iii) A tire assembly with a serviceable tire is 
not subject to the provisions of this subchapter provided the tire 
is not inflated to a gauge pressure exceeding the maximum rated 
pressure for that tire.

    The first sentence of paragraph (a)(2) addresses hazardous 
materials required for the operation of an aircraft under applicable 
provisions of Federal Aviation Administration regulations in 14 CFR. 
These items include equipment required to be carried aboard the 
aircraft, such as portable fire extinguishers, and installed equipment 
containing hazardous materials, such as cylinders containing oxygen. 
This sentence simply reiterates that the HMR do not apply to installed 
components of an aircraft and other items required to be on the 
aircraft, because the HMR regulate hazardous materials transported in 
commerce (e.g., hazardous materials transported as cargo, baggage, or 
as items carried on by passengers or crewmembers).
    The second sentence of paragraph (a)(2) contains introductory text 
and three subparagraphs and states, in part, that `` * * * items of 
replacement for such hazardous materials must be transported in 
accordance with this subchapter [the HMR] * * * '' [emphasis added]. 
The sentence addresses only items of replacement for those hazardous 
materials required aboard an aircraft in accordance with the applicable 
airworthiness requirements and operating regulations. These replacement 
items are transported in commerce and must be offered and transported 
in conformance with the HMR, except for the limited relief provided in 
subparagraphs (i), (ii), and (iii).
    The exceptions in the second sentence do not apply to many of the 
hazardous materials consumed or used in the aircraft industry such as 
paints, chemicals for corrosion removal, automotive batteries, engine-
powered ground equipment containing fuel, and wastes. These materials 
must be offered and transported in conformance with the HMR.
    Serviceable items and items removed for servicing or repair, that 
are items of replacement, are eligible for the exceptions in 
Sec. 175.10(a)(2) when otherwise offered for transportation in 
compliance with the HMR. However, an expendable device such as a fuel 
saturated filter or an oxygen generator removed from an aircraft for 
immediate or eventual disposal is not an item of replacement and may 
not be carried aboard aircraft under Sec. 175.10(a)(2).
    Subparagraph (a)(2)(i) permits the use of packagings specially 
designed for the transport of aircraft spares and supplies, provided 
such packagings provide at least an equivalent level of protection to 
those that would otherwise be required by the HMR. This exception 
allows air carriers to use specialized packagings not specifically 
addressed in the HMR, such as lined aluminum cases for overpacking 
cylinders. It does not address materials that are not necessary to meet 
applicable airworthiness requirements and operating regulations. 
Subparagraph (a)(2)(ii) provides relief from quantity limitations for 
aircraft batteries, allowing aircraft batteries which are COMAT to be 
transported in larger sizes or in greater quantities than would 
normally be permitted, when all other provisions of the HMR are 
followed.
    Subparagraph (a)(2)(iii) removes the application of the HMR from a 
tire assembly with a serviceable tire provided the tire is not inflated 
to a gauge pressure exceeding the maximum rated pressure for that tire. 
Only this third exception relating to tires, removes the application of 
the HMR. Therefore, among other requirements, the following apply to 
all hazardous materials carried as items of replacement (as discussed 
above) under the COMAT provisions of subparagraphs (a)(2)(i) and (ii):

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                  Subject                        Citation: 49 CFR--     
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Training..................................  Part 172, Subpart H and Sec.
                                              175.20.                   
Forbidden Materials.......................  Secs.  173.21 and 173.54.   
Packaging.................................  Parts 172, 173 and 178. In  
                                             particular 173.24, 173.24a 
                                             and 173.27.                
Marking...................................  Part 172, Subpart D.        
Labeling..................................  Part 172, Subpart E.        
Shipping Papers and Certification.........  Part 172, Subpart C.        
Quantity limitations per package--          Secs.  172.101 and 173.27.  
 Passenger Aircraft.                                                    
Quantity limitations per package--Cargo     Secs.  172.101 and 173.27.  
 Aircraft.                                                              
Quantity limitations--Inaccessible cargo    Sec.  175.75.               
 compartments.                                                          
Notification of Pilot-in-Command..........  Sec.  175.33.               
Reports of discrepancies..................  Sec.  175.31.               
Incident Reporting........................  Secs.  171.15 and 171.16.   
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    RSPA published a document entitled ``Advisory Guidance; Offering, 
Accepting, and Transporting Hazardous Materials'' in the Federal 
Register on June 14, 1996 (61 FR 30444). The guidance addressed a 
number of topics related to the safe transportation of hazardous 
materials.
    Persons who supervise or perform hazardous materials functions, 
including persons who manufacture packagings, prepare and package 
hazardous materials and otherwise perform functions leading to the 
introduction of hazardous materials into transportation, are encouraged 
to review the guidance in its entirety. See the definition of ``Hazmat 
employer'' and ``Hazmat employee'' in 49 CFR 171.8. In many cases, more 
than one person may be involved in the performance of offering 
functions in addition to the person executing the certification 
required by Sec. 172.204. See RSPA's interpretations at 55 FR 6758 
(Feb. 26, 1990) and 57 FR 48740 (Oct. 28, 1992).
    As stated in section III of the advisory guidance (61 FR at 30446):

    The HMR are only effective when persons who engage in day-to-day 
transportation-related activities make a concerted effort to ensure 
their own compliance, as well as that of others from who they may 
receive shipments.

    RSPA urges all persons involved in hazardous materials 
transportation activities to carefully examine all of their procedures 
to ensure conformance with the HMR.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 10, 1996.
Alan I. Roberts,
Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety.
[FR Doc. 96-31648 Filed 12-12-96; 8:45 am]
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