UPDATE OF PROVISIONS ON AIR CARRIAGE OF BATTERIES
The modified requirements of IATA-DGR have been in force as of 1 January 2014. They apply to aircraft operators. These are not regulations but guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Organisation. For this reason, they can be modified more frequently than we are used to. Panel 24 (DGP/24) IATA discusses issues related to the safety of transporting portable power sources, i.e. rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries. Due to technological changes resulting from attempts to find solutions that offer the proper capacity and effectiveness of batteries, products available on the market as well as legal regulations undergo frequent changes.
That is the reason why the position of corresponding authorities for transport issues is not unified regarding the method of securing the required level of safety. Hence, we cannot unambiguously answer the question of what additional measures are required to limit the risk associated with the carriage of lithium metal batteries by air.
Discussion and works thereon are pending. In February 2014, at FAA William J. Hughes Technical Centre a meeting was held at which numerous examples were discussed, showing that the course and conditions of a reaction do not depend on the battery type, but on the method of their production and their composition. At the DGP working group meeting held in April 2014, it was proposed to ban the transport of batteries in the passenger area. That ban would relate to lithium metal batteries in accordance with the requirements of PI 968 Sections IA, IB and II. The ban would not apply to lithium metal batteries transported in accordance with PI 969 or contained in equipment (PI 970). The conclusions were formulated based on a report on the results of the international transport coordination (DGP-WG/LB/2–WP/1) and other documents such as: – safety management analysis for passenger aircraft (DGP-WG/LB/2-WP/5 – analysis of fire suppression capabilities and the potential risk associated with the carriage of lithium metal batteries (DGP WG/LB/2-IP/1). The proposed solution is awaiting approval by the Aviation Navigation Council and the ICAO Council. Unless it is decided otherwise, the modifications will come into effect on 1 January 2015. It is crucial to emphasise that the ban on the carriage of lithium metal batteries in passenger aircraft only applies to lithium metal batteries at the time of shipment in accordance with PI 968 Section IA, IB and II. The ban would not apply to lithium metal batteries PI 969 or batteries contained in equipment (PI 970).
The last legislative change took place in January 2014. Let’s recap what the change concerned. Most importantly, the requirements that must be met before shipment were specified in more detail. The previous provisions stated that cells, rechargeable batteries and devices containing such elements manufactured before 1 January 2014 may be carried only if they were tested in accordance with the requirement of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria (Issue 5, Revision 1). Rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries manufactured after the change became effective may be carried only if they meet the test criteria in force on the date of production. All rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries classified as UN 3090, 3091, 3480, or 3481 must be compliant with RID/ADR/ADN (c.f.184.108.40.206), or, for maritime carriage, IMDG Code (cf. 220.127.116.11) and IATA -DGR (cf. 18.104.22.168.(a)) for air carriage. A collective summary of requirements applicable to the preparation of air shipments is provided below.