Airlines challenge lithium ion battery shipments

August 17, 2016 // By Nick Flaherty
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has partnered with lithium battery suppliers to demand stricter enforcement of international transport regulations.

IATA is working with PRBA, the US Rechargeable Battery Association, RECHARGE, the European Advanced Rechargeable and Lithium Battery Association, the Global Shippers Forum (GSF) and the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) to call for lithium battery safety regulations to be enforced at the point of origin including the initial shipper and the battery manufacturer. This is widely acknowledged as aimed at Chinese suppliers.

The move comes as new regulations come into force to prevent fires on aircraft. 

The groups have also called for cooperation between governments to enforce the new regulations, as batteries made in one state can be driven over a border to be flown from another state to avoid them. The global associations also called for significant fines and prison for those who circumvent the regulations, saying otherwise shipment of lithium batteries could be banned.

“Airlines, shippers and manufacturers have worked hard to establish rules that ensure lithium batteries can be carried safely, but the rules are only effective if they are enforced and backed-up by significant penalties," said said Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of IATA which represents 265 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic. "Government authorities must step up and take responsibility for regulating rogue producers and exporters. Flagrant abuses of dangerous goods shipping regulations, which place aircraft and passenger safety at risk, must be criminalized.”