ICAO Moves To Suspend Battery Exemptions

 - February 18, 2013, 1:40 PM

The International Civil Aviation Organization approved a temporary ban on carrying lithium-ion batteries as standard cargo on passenger aircraft last week. An interim amendment approved on February 13 rescinded ICAO’s earlier exemption that allowed lithium-ion batteries weighing up to 35 kg (77 pounds) to be carried. Batteries weighing approximately 66 pounds were responsible for two recent fires aboard the now-grounded Boeing 787 airliner. The exemption had been in place for two months and was initially requested by airlines as an efficient method to ship new batteries to aircraft that might be grounded for replacements. Final approval of the amendment by the full ICAO Council is expected when the group returns to session in March. “This amendment to Special Provision A51 is a temporary measure, taken to ensure that safety considerations remain paramount while the related investigations in the United States and Japan remain ongoing,” said ICAO Council president Roberto Kobeh González. ICAO stressed that the new amendment does not affect the carriage, under A51, of other aircraft [smaller] battery types on passenger airplanes, nor will it place additional restrictions on lithium-ion aircraft batteries being carried as cargo on all-freight aircraft.