The discussion on whether lithium batteries should be banned for carriage on any form of air transport still goes on without any real common progress or commitment from the manufacturers
or the airline industry.
Now, finally, TIACA has spoken up officially and has even published a so-called ‘position paper.’
Does TIACA now feel it must take the lead?
The paper which was issued at the beginning of September follows on a statement made by TIACA’s outgoing General Secretary, Doug Brittin which could be read as his way of telling the industry to stop sitting on their hands and move ahead.
The TIACA paper, which can be pulled up on their website, deals with what Brittin stresses as being the principles that TIACA believes regulators and the industry must abide by.
It is finding and controlling the rogue producers of lithium batteries which is one of the main problems.
As long as countries quietly continue allowing production of counterfeit batteries and make no move to control the carriage of such, then we’ll carry on with the same uncertain situation for some time to come.
TIACA Position Paper in concise and to the point
Those involved in any way in the production, storage and transport of lithium products should sit down for an hour and go through the TIACA paper which puts a finger on what has to be done and who should take action.
The paper strongly suggests that the industry should abide by the principles laid out by the TIACA membership and splits their guidelines into five main points:
- Binding regulations on the transport of lithium batteries must be globally recognized and adhered to.
- TIACA states that ICAO should be used as the forum for what they term as reaching consensus on international aviation Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). TIACA strongly recommends that ICAO further clarify the SARPs policy with regards to the transport of lithium products.
- More awareness must be given throughout the complete air cargo supply chain, as well as to the general public (passenger baggage) in order to highlight the dangers.
- Probably the most important point: strict compliance and enforcement of regulations are necessary for the manufacturing industry. Here, some producers take little or no heed of manufacturing processes and packaging rules.
- TIACA also supports the ICAO temporary ban on lithium batteries in passenger aircraft and would welcome a new performance-based packaging standard as well as forcing all cargo operators to conduct fail-safe Safety Risk Assessments.
Hopefully this will be a start to nailing down a final watertight solution to this problem.
We hope TIACA will forcefully follow up on the position paper and not rest until a global practice is well under way.
John Mc Donagh