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UN aviation agency bans lithium-ion batteries as cargo on passenger flights

The 36-state council says the decision will take effect April 1 and would be mandatory for all member states.

© Thomas Mukoya

Reported by the ICAO on February 13, the decision was announced pending the results of an investigation carried out in the United States and Japan.

The ICAO added that no additional restrictions will be placed on other batteries or other means of transporting lithium-ion batteries.

The agency’s concerns stem from those already voiced by pilots and aircraft manufacturers that the current packing standards aren’t fire resistant. According to a 2015 Boeing report cited by Reuters, current fire safety measures on passenger aircraft cannot “suppress or extinguish a fire involving significant quantities of lithium batteries.”

The same fears were echoed by the US Federal Aviation Administration recently, which warned of the possibility of “a catastrophic explosion” waiting to happen if lithium-ion batteries are transported in cargo holds, AFP reported.