Pending the outcomes of investigations now being carried out in the U.S. and Japan, the president of the council of the International Civil Aviation Organization has provisionally approved an interim amendment that will prohibit the carriage of lithium ion aircraft batteries as cargo on passenger airplanes.
The new amendment will rescind the United Nations agency’s recent inclusion of lithium ion aircraft batteries up to 35 kilograms (about 77 pounds) in Special Provision A51 in “Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air,” which provided airlines with the operational flexibility to transport aircraft batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft in special circumstances. The inclusion of the batteries in A51 had only become effective on Jan. 1, 2013.
Final approval of the amendment from the ICAO council is expected when it returns to session later this month.
The ICAO decision follows the grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner fleet by the U.S. and Japan after a battery caught fire in a plane parked in Boston and a 787 with a smoking battery was forced to make an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport in Japan.