IFALPA demands revision of ICAO lithium battery rules

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The International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Association (IFALPA) has demanded the revision of ICAO regulations with respect to cargo containing lithium batteries.

IFALPA said that when lithium batteries are shipped as cargo, they are not subject to the majority of the provisions for dangerous goods in the ICAO Technical Instructions.

According to IFALPA, lithium batteries have been responsible for over 40 reported incidents since 1990, involving smoke, fire, extreme heat or explosion in air transport. These have occurred in both cargo compartments and passenger cabins, it added.

In addition, Halon fire suppression systems, which are used in the holds of many aircraft, are ineffective in controlling a lithium battery fire, the pilot organisation said.

It was announced earlier this month that passengers checking in for flights will be asked if they are carrying lithium batteries, due to mounting safety concerns.