The Dangerous Goods committee at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal has tentatively rejected a proposed ban on passenger airlines carrying lithium batteries as cargo despite calls to do so by U.S. regulators.
´According to sources, the DG Committee took the vote last week, a preliminary step in setting guidance for aviation regulators around the world.
The U.S., Russia, Brazil, China and Spain, as well as organisations representing airline pilots and aircraft manufacturers, voted in favour of the ban during the meeting at ICAO's headquarters in Montreal, Bloomberg reported.
The Netherlands, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Japan and the UK, as well as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), voted against it.
ICAO considers new safety rules
Lithium-based batteries have been linked to at least three aircraft accidents and recent testing by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has found that they can emit fumes that will explode in cargo holds if they overheat.
ICAO hasn’t announced the results of the vote. The organisation is meeting this week to consider a range of new measures to improve the safety of batteries in cargo, including limiting how much they are charged before they’re shipped and changing packaging standards.
Battery industry groups such as PRBA - The Rechargeable Battery Association have argued that improved safety can be achieved without a ban.
The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations, an umbrella for airline unions, urged the panel to bar all lithium-battery cargo until safer measures were developed. Last July, Boeing and Airbus also urged airlines not to carry battery shipments.
Nol van Fenema