In anticipation of the July 4th holiday weekend, the FAA today issued a Press Releaseadvising passengers of the prohibitions of carrying fireworks on aircraft. Although it doesn’t specifically reference what types of aircraft, the press releases references to an aircraft’s “pressurized atmosphere” and to domestic and international regulations appears to be aimed at transport category aircraft and the airlines.
Fireworks and firework novelty items are considered hazardous-materials and passengers are prohibited from carrying such items in their checked or carry-on baggage, or on their persons. If caught carrying these items, a passenger could face civil penalties of up to $32,500 per violation with a minimum fine of $275, and criminal prosecution of up to five years in prison with criminal fines of up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations.
Apparently the TSA‘s increased screening and scrutiny is revealing a significant number of violations: “From April 2003 to May 2004, the FAA opened 7,849 investigations into violations of the Hazardous Materials Regulations. This compares to 2,555 investigations opened in the same time period the previous year.” Unfortunately, the Press Release doesn’t break these figures out by type of hazardous material involved.
Regardless, it should go without saying that the risks far outweigh the possible benefits of traveling with these types of items on the airlines. If you are flying somewhere for the 4th of July, the best bet is to buy your fireworks when you arrive at your destination.