ICAO Panel Moves to Ban Lithium Ion Battery Transport from Passenger Aircraft

ICAO’s Air Navigation Commission (ANC) has completed its review of the Dangerous Goods Panel’s 25th meeting and will be recommending to the Governing Council of ICAO that Lithium Ion batteries be prohibited from transport on passenger aircraft.  The conclusion of the Commission was that the risks of these batteries in flight was currently “not adequately controlled.”  This decision was taken notwithstanding the recently published mitigation factors due to come into force 1st April 2016.

If Adopted, What About Special Provisions?

Although we have not received any information with respect to implementation, we understand that once the ICAO Council formally adopts the Commission’s recommendations, something of a formality, the prohibition could be in place as soon as 90 days from the date of the decision, possibly sometime in May.  Additionally, there has as yet been no information on the adoption of appropriate special provisions which would addresses situations of technical and humanitarian necessity, the safety implications of the latter being of immediate and grave concern.

We can however conclude that recently published provisions, particularly with respect to a 30% state of charge will come in to force on schedule on 1 April.  Industry already has a huge challenge meeting that requirement.  In addition, it is clear that the work of the recently formed technical working group under the auspicies of SAE which is developing the standards for lithium battery packaging is more urgent than ever.

It would have been a pleasure to have been able to report that progress had been made in establishing effective compliance and prosecution processes.  Unfortunately, I cannot.

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