The ICAO Authorizes DGP Amendments on Lithium Batteries

In connection with the forthcoming Technical Instructions 2015 – 2016 Edition, the ICAO has authorized the amendments prohibiting the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft.

In addition, the ICAO also authorized Special Provision A201. The Provision is said to be authorized granted the following conditions. First, the work on the development of packaging performance criteria for lithium metal cells and batteries with a lithium content of not more than 0.3 g will be finished and agreed by the DGP. Second, the conditions for approving the transport via passenger aircrafts will also be completed and authorized by the DGP. Consequently, these provisions and conditions will be brought to the Council later this year. Furthermore, the Special Provision A201 will also be included in the Supplement to the Technical Instructions 2015 – 2016 Edition upon ICAO Council approval.

The ICAO Council and ANC also raised the following risks associated to lithium batteries.

  • Risks brought about by lithium metal batteries on cargo aircraft
  • Risks brought about by lithium metal batteries packed with the equipment as well as those contained in the equipment
  • Risks brought about by lithium ion batteries.

The above – mentioned issues are to be tackled by the DGP in the days to come.

Aside from the issues just cited, both bodies also embark upon the issue on noncompliance. As a result, recommendation 5/3 included in DGP-WG/LB/2 report was supported. Moreover, the ICAO Council, via request of the ICAO Secretariat is to prioritize this matter.

Recommendation 5/3 entitled Development of a safety oversight and awareness programme for the safe transport of dangerous goods. The recommendation made has the following two objectives.

  • To promote awareness as to the risks brought about by the transport of lithium batteries
  • To help States to formulate oversight and awareness programmes for the transport of all dangerous goods

These two objectives are to be achieved through awareness campaigns which includes training, the development of guidance material and focused audits of States who produce large quantities of lithium batteries. Further, a small working group will be organized to achieve the above – mentioned objectives. The group is also responsible for preparing an action plan to be enforced by the ICAO.

Here is the amended Special Provision A201. The changes are highlighted in yellow. Under the amended Provision, the following changes can be noted:

  • At the start of the provision, the terms “A shipment of lithium metal batteries” was inserted
  • The phrase stating that it is the State who makes the approvals has the duty to send copies to the ICAO secretariat was also inserted
  • In relation to the second revision, the time period in which the State should send the copies was also inserted

As for the first noted revision, the terms were added as per demand of the ANC. This is to guarantee that the States regard each approval according to each circumstance. Below is the amended version of the Special Provision A201.

A shipment of lithium metal batteries may be transported on passenger aircraft only with the prior approval of the appropriate authority of the State of Origin and the State of the Operator under the written conditions established by those authorities. The conditions must include the quantity limitations, size limitations and packing requirements established in the Supplement (see S-3;4, Table S 3 1). Copies of the documents of approval, showing the quantity limitations and packing requirements, must accompany the consignment. Authorities issuing approvals in accordance with this special provision must provide a copy to the Chief of the Dangerous Goods Section within three months of issuance via email at DGS@icao.int, via facsimile at +1 514-954-6077 or via post to the following address:

Chief, Dangerous Goods Section
International Civil Aviation Organization
999 University Street
Montreal, Quebec
CANADA H3C 5H7

When States, other than the State of Origin and the State of the Operator, have notified ICAO that they require prior approval of shipments made under this special provision, approval must also be obtained from these States, as appropriate.

The revisions contained in this provision will be incorporated in the 56th edition of the Dangerous Goods Regulation. A guidance document outlining the changes applicable for lithium metal batteries as of 2015 will also be created; the purpose of which is to further promote awareness to shippers and other concerned individuals about the important changes. Most importantly, based on Section IA, IB and II of PI 968, they will learn to apply and use the guidance documents for the shipments of lithium metal batteries.

Lastly, operators are also asked to closely and carefully examine the variations forbidding the carriage of lithium batteries on passenger aircraft. The variations are to be examined with a view to removing reference to prohibition on passenger aircraft.