Frequently Asked Questions

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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 Organisation (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.

What's the relationship between the IATA Regulations and the ICAO 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 presents the requirements for shipping dangerous goods by air in a user friendly, easy to interpret format. It 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. Finally, since IATA airlines are somewhat stricter in their requirements than the ICAO Technical Instructions, the DGR specifies more precisely how to prepare a shipment.

Do I need training to ship dangerous goods (hazmat)?

Yes, all persons involved in the preparation and shipping of dangerous goods must have appropriate training. The amount of training required depends on the tasks undertaken. An indication of the training requirements is set out in subsection 1.5 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).

Who must have Dangerous Goods Training?

The legal requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Technical Instructions for the safe transport of dangerous goods by air requires that initial and recurrent in-depth training must be taken by shippers and their agents, packers, freight forwarders, cargo agents, operators (or airlines), agencies handling operators and performing the cargo acceptance function.

Awareness level training is required for staff of operators and agencies acting on behalf of operators performing the functions of ground handling, storage and loading of cargo and baggage; passenger handling and security staff responsible for screening passengers and their baggage; flight crew members and flight attendants.

How often must this training take place?

The ICAO Technical Instructions require that recurrent training must take place within 24 months of previous training to ensure that the knowledge is current, unless a competent authority has defined a shorter period.

For example the United States requires operator staff to have recurrent training every year and The Netherlands requires recurrent training every 18 months. The UK Civil Aviation Association requires recurrent training must take place within a 24 month period.

What must the training cover?


Provide an awareness of the general provisions of the Regulations, including the criteria of the hazard classes and the identification of dangerous goods presented as general cargo;


Specific training:

Provide detailed training in the requirements applicable to the function for which the student is responsible;


Safety training:

Cover the hazards presented by dangerous goods and safe handling and emergency procedures.

I need to send a shipment of DG's by air but I don’t have the training. What can I do?

You can outsource the task to a qualified service partner until you comply with the training requirements as per subsection 1.5 of the IATA DGR.

Where can I find the right training?

Many Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) require dangerous goods training schools to be approved by the CAA. 

Approved schools are then listed on the CAA website. 

In addition, IATA has a accreditation scheme for dangerous goods training schools and authorised training centres. IATA-endorsed schools:

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

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 authorised laboratory.

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.

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 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.