ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — Flight Safety Foundation supports the decision of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council to adopt an interim ban on shipments of lithium ion batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft. Testing by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has shown that a single battery in thermal runaway could spread to the neighboring batteries in a package and to adjacent packages and that there also is a danger of unburned flammable gases associated with a lithium battery fire leading to an explosion. While many airlines have already stopped carrying these batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft, this interim ban will help to standardize the practice around the world.
This decision should not be viewed as a significant risk mitigation, but instead as an indication that more research needs to be done into how best to package and handle these batteries to ensure their safe shipment by air.
The ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel and other entities continue to work on mitigation strategies, including performance-based battery packaging standards.
“While this work is being done, it is important that airlines and others in the aviation industry, as well as battery manufacturers and distributors, regulators and other government agencies, work together to assess and mitigate the risk posed by counterfeit batteries and illegal or undeclared battery shipments,” said Jon Beatty, president and CEO of the Foundation. “It also is important that airlines continue to work to educate their passengers about the risks posed by carrying lithium batteries in their checked bags.”
Flight Safety Foundation (www.flightsafety.org) is an independent, non-profit, international organization engaged in research, education, advocacy and publishing to improve aviation safety. The Foundation’s mission is to be the leading voice of safety for the global aerospace community.
Contact: Frank Jackman, 703.739.6700 ext. 116; email@example.com