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Monday, August 11, 2014

PRBA Seeks ICAO Crackdown on Lithium Battery Transport

[Avionics Today 08-11-2014] The Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA), expressed concerns about the dangers posed by non-compliant air shipments of lithium batteries and requested International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) help to address the matter. This comes on the heels of a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines in which the airline allegedly transported lithium ion batteries on passenger planes, among other offenses, as well as a 2013 report on the crash of a UPS Boeing 747 near Dubai International Airport in which numerous lithium ion batteries were not shipped in compliance with ICAO's dangerous goods requirements.

"These matters are of global concern," PRBA's letter to ICAO said. "Recently, however, compliance and enforcement has been particularly problematic for products originating in the People's Republic of China and shipped from Hong Kong … In many of these cases, circumstances suggest that they may have knowingly violated ICAO requirements.”

Non-compliant shipments are "extremely troubling" to PRBA members who expend time and money to meet ICAO safety requirements but can do little to address compliance on their own, the letter noted. But the PRBA believes the ICAO is “in a position to act," the letter said, requesting that ICAO organize a meeting near Hong Kong later this year in order to address compliance and enforcement issues in China.

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