It is indisputable that civil aviation has proved to be the most effective medium of relief to suffering humanity. From the Asian tsunami of 2004 to Hurricane Katrina in the United States in 2005, both of which left many dead and stranded, cataclysmic events needing assistance to people in distress have been coped with effectively by aid provided through carriage by air of essential items. It follows, therefore, that there should be no distinction in the role of civil aviation in this regard between times of collective distress and exigencies of individual distress of patients whose lives depend on the expedited transport of medicines.
At a meeting held in May 2006 at the IAEA Headquarters on the subject of denial of shipments of radioactive material, ICAO advised that air carriers could only be persuaded to carry radioactive cargo, and cannot be forced to do so. At the same meeting, IFALPA observed that there has been an increase in recent years of the number of denials of shipments of radioactive materials by airlines, airports, pilots and States and that such denials are capable of posing problems for hospitals, patients and suppliers of radioactive pharmaceuticals. This article examines the attendant obligation at law of a carrier not to refuse the carriage of radioactive cargo to be used for medical purposes.Air and Space Law