Aviation Innovation, Reform & Reauthorization Act Poses Risk to Sports Production Community

In the wake of recent destructive fires on airplanes caused by lithium ion batteries, policymakers and private industry alike are scrambling to get ahead of the problem with new safety policies and regulations. For example, freight shipping companies like UPS and FedEx are installing advanced fire-protection systems to combat battery-fed fires, and most passenger airlines will no longer carry bulk shipments of lithium batteries. But it also looks like there is the potential for legislative over-reach that could negatively impact anyone in sports production who relies on air transportation to transport lithium ion batteries alongside ENG cameras and other gear. Congress, as part of its Aviation Innovation, Reform & Reauthorization Act that is currently pending before the House of Representatives, could drastically change the way people in our industry operate.

Faulty lithium ion batteries that have exploded in hoverboards have put all lithium ion batteries in the cross hairs.

Faulty lithium ion batteries that have exploded in hoverboards have put all lithium ion batteries in the cross hairs.

This bill has reasonable tenants but is detrimental to the sports video community because it directs FAA and PHMSA to conduct federal rulemaking on the matter. In the past  six months, both agencies have set a precedent for taking lithium ion batteries off of airplanes; namely hover boards and e-cigarettes. FAA officials have further gone on record saying that they would support an outright ban of lithium ion batteries on aircraft.

Representatives Peter DeFazio and Dan Lipinski have also introduced amendments to this bill that, if passed, would accelerate the process and result in an outright ban of lithium ion batteries on airplanes with marginal exceptions for life-saving medical equipment.

This legislation and directed rulemaking have the real potential to keep lithium ion batteries off of airplanes, forcing potentially detrimental changes to the way broadcasters, teams, leagues, and clubs, both professional and collegiate, operate as they all move large quantities of batteries by air from their home base to competition venues. This includes video cameras, laptops, phones, two-way radios, headsets, athletic training equipment, and a whole host of other devices that are powered by lithium ion batteries.

Please act now by calling or meeting with the U.S. Congressmen and Senators that represent your district and state to let them know that you do not support a ban on shipping lithium ion batteries by air. For more information on how to get involved in the movement, contact Logistics Supply Chain Coalition Executive Director James Voyles at jvoyles@hbwresources.com or by phone at 202-423-8391.

 

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