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Air France KLM Cargo first airline to ramp up system for digital acceptance of dangerous goods

 AF-KLM unit to shift to digital acceptance of dangerous goods documentation (Photo:Shutterstock)
AF-KLM unit to shift to digital acceptance of dangerous goods documentation (Photo:Shutterstock)

Air France KLM Cargo said today it is the first airline to adopt the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) new “AutoCheck” digital system for accepting shipments of dangerous goods transported by air.

According to the cargo unit of the French-Dutch airline group, the system will ensure a shipper’s compliance with IATA’s dangerous goods regulations by digitally matching the shipper’s required dangerous goods declaration with the relevant IATA protocols. By using optical character recognition technology, AutoCheck can automatically receive, process and verify an electronic version of a shipper’s declaration by using the digitalized version of the IATA regulations, Air France KLM Cargo said.

 According to the unit, AutoCheck facilitates a ground handler’s or airline’s decision to accept or reject a shipment during the physical inspection stage by providing a “pictorial representation” of the package to determine if it contains all the markings and labelling required by IATA. For example, AutoCheck helps an airline’s dangerous goods acceptance staff check if all prerequisites for acceptance are met on shipments of lithium batteries, a core component of electronic products typically shipped by air. The batteries vary in type, packaging and safety hazards, Air France KLM Cargo said.

About 12 percent of the unit’s 1.5 million annual shipments require dangerous goods handling, it said. Air France KLM operates a fleet of 174 passenger airplanes with belly cargo capabilities, freighters and “combi” aircraft (airplanes configured to carry freight and passengers on the main deck and cargo in the bellies).

The unit made the announcement at IATA’s World Cargo Symposium in Singapore. Based in Geneva, IATA is a trade group representing 290 airlines.