How to Return a HAZMAT Aircraft Core?

Aircraft cores may contain hazardous materials such as fuel, compressed gas, or lithium batteries. If you need to return an aircraft part (known as a core) containing hazardous material, there are important guidelines to follow.

We ship thousands of aircraft parts each year, many of which are classified as hazardous and require specific packaging and labeling. We know it is important to take proper precautions when shipping aircraft parts, so we created this article to explain what you need to know before sending your aircraft core to a supplier.

HAZMAT Aircraft Core: Fire Bottle

What is a HAZMAT Aircraft Core?

An aircraft core (or off-unit) is a part removed from the aircraft and sent to the supplier in trade for the serviceable replacement unit acquired during an exchange.

Aircraft cores containing Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) that pose possible risks to health, safety, or property are referred to as “Dangerous Goods” (DG). They are restricted in transportation, whether shipped via Ground, Air, or Sea.

How to Know if an Aircraft Core is HAZMAT/DG?

If you are uncertain whether your aircraft core is hazardous and restricted for transport, review the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) online by searching for the aircraft part number (p/n) and description. Section 14 of every SDS describes transportation restrictions and HAZMAT/DG classification.

The following are aircraft cores that must be sent in accordance with HAZMAT/DG regulations:

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Oxygen cylinders (undrained)
  • Any aircraft part containing hydraulic fluid or residue
  • Beacons (containing more than 2 grams of lithium batteries)

Most HAZMAT aircraft parts are no longer hazardous once used, which means most aircraft cores can be shipped without restrictions. However, some aircraft cores may contain a hazardous substance that, even after being used (such as gases, hydraulic fluids, lithium batteries, etc.), classifies the aircraft core as HAZMAT.

HAZMAT Aircraft Core: Locator Beacons

Are You Permitted to Ship a HAZMAT/DG Aircraft Core?

If you are shipping an aircraft core that is classified as HAZMAT/DG, you must be trained in accordance with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations (if via Air) or the Department of Transportation (DOT) HAZMAT shipping rules (if via Ground).

Who is Responsible for Providing HAZMAT Shipping Papers?

The sender is responsible for providing the appropriate paperwork for a HAZMAT aircraft core return (see below). This is not the responsibility of the supplier accepting the core.

What are HAZMAT/DG Shipping Papers?

HAZMAT/DG shipping papers are required to accompany most hazardous shipments. Below, you’ll find what shipping papers must include for shipments via Ground or Air. You can also refer to the shipping papers accompanying the initial delivery for proper format, applicability of shipping papers, etc.


  • Bill of Lading or other shipping document prepared with the UN# (i.e., a four-digit number identifying dangerous goods or hazardous materials),
  • Proper Shipping Name,
  • Hazard Classification,
  • Packing Group (e.g., PG I, II, or III. Note: compressed gases and batteries will not have a packing group (PG) for those items),
  • 24-hour emergency telephone number,
  • HAZMAT Certification Statement, and
  • Signature of a DOT-certified/trained person (49 CFR 172, Subpart H).


  • An IATA Shipper’s Declaration of Dangerous Goods (DG Declaration) prepared with the UN#,
  • Proper Shipping Name,
  • Hazard Classification,
  • Packing Group (e.g., PG I, II, or III. Note: compressed gases and batteries will not have a packing group (PG) for those items),
  • 24-hour emergency telephone number,
  • Certification Statement, and
  • Signature of an IATA-certified/trained person.

You will also need to provide a summary label (also known as a thermal address) on the shipping container. 

The information on the thermal address label (or “summary label”) describes the contents with the mandatory UN#, Proper Shipping Name, Hazard Classification, and packaging specs if applicable, and it must precisely match the detail on the shipping papers.

Guidance for HAZMAT shipping papers is also available from:

  • U.S. DOT PHMSA HAZMAT helpline: +1-800-467-4922
  • UPS 24-hour HAZMAT Shipping Hotline: +1-800-554-9964
  • FedEx Dangerous Goods Hotline: or +1-901-434-3200

Consequences of Shipping HAZMAT Aircraft Cores Incorrectly

Shipping a HAZMAT/DG aircraft core without taking the proper precautions is illegal and dangerous. Shippers who fail to properly package, label, or classify hazardous material may face enforcement action and monetary penalties from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or DOT PHMSA, depending on the severity of the violation in property damage or injury.

Aircraft Core Due Dates

Aircraft core due dates are specified on the quote, sales order, or exchange agreement. Cores must be sent to the supplier before the core due date, so be sure to account for the amount of time it may take to properly package, label, and provide accurate HAZMAT shipping papers. If the core is not received on time, additional exchange fees or core billing will be charged. 


If your aircraft core is classified as HAZMAT/DG, review the documentation included with the replacement unit. The replacement unit should have been shipped in accordance with applicable rules and will include the information you need to prepare the core correctly.

Please note that this article provides general information for shipping HAZMAT/DG aircraft cores and is not to be construed as legal advice or HAZMAT/DG instruction. It is necessary to refer to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) when shipping via Air, and the applicable HAZMAT Ground Regulations for shipping via Ground (e.g., 49 CFR 171-180 in the U.S. or Transport Canada’s TDG Regulations, or other country-specific regulations from the country where you are shipping). 

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