For Immediate Release

Release No. AWP5-0603
June 23, 2003
Contact: Donn Walker
Phone: (310) 725-3580

LOS ANGELES — Leave fireworks behind if you are flying somewhere to celebrate Independence Day, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned the public today.

"People who thoughtlessly bring fireworks on board airplanes put themselves and fellow passengers at great risk," said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey. "Because of the hazards involved, all fireworks, down to the smallest sparklers and poppers are strictly prohibited, and violators risk thousands of dollars in fines and a possible prison sentence if they bring them on flights."

In the Southeast, where fireworks are sold widely, the FAA this month sent hazardous-materials agents out to fireworks retailers to distribute educational brochures and posters explaining the dangers of fireworks aboard aircraft. To reach an even wider audience during their visits, FAA agents also discussed the problem with local media. In the Southwest, agents held press conferences at airports in Houston, New Orleans and Dallas/Ft. Worth to communicate the same message. The agency estimates its "Fireworks Don't Fly" community outreach effort has reached millions of people.

Friction can ignite even the smallest toy caps in the pressurized atmosphere of flight, potentially resulting in fires that could have devastating results. Because of this very real danger, domestic and international regulations prohibit the carriage of fireworks and firework novelty items in passengers' checked or carry-on baggage, or on passengers' persons. With many more bags being searched under tightened security, fireworks are more likely to be discovered. Violators of the hazardous-materials regulations are subject to civil penalties of up to $30,000 per violation and to criminal prosecutions of up to five years in prison along with fines of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations.