Battery-shipping exemption opposed by U.N. agency
BY JOAN LOWY Associated Press
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
2/13/13 at 3:37 AM
WASHINGTON - A U.N. agency that sets global aviation safety standards is moving to prevent aircraft batteries like the one that caught fire on a Boeing 787 last month from being shipped as cargo on passenger planes, people familiar with the effort said.
Over the past few days, the members of the International Civil Aviation Organization's dangerous goods committee have proposed revoking an exemption that permitted lithium ion aircraft batteries as heavy as 77 pounds to be shipped on passenger planes, the sources told The Associated Press. All other lithium ion battery shipments on passenger planes are limited to 11 pounds or less because of the batteries' susceptibility to short-circuit and ignite.
The head of the agency's air navigation commission has signed off on the proposal, the sources said. Late Monday, agency officials were trying to reach the agency's council president, who was traveling, for his signature, which they hoped to secure Tuesday. As soon as the council president signs off on the change, it will be posted online and become effective immediately, those familiar with the situation said.
They requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.
The agency's standards aren't binding, but are widely followed by countries around the world.
The exemption for aircraft batteries, which was sought by the airline industry, has been in effect for less than two months.
Original Print Headline: U.N. fights aircraft battery exemption
A Boeing 787 taxis after landing following a test flight Monday at Boeing Field in Seattle. ELAINE THOMPSON / Associated Press