Release #: 16.01
January 28, 2016

ICAO Panel Recommendation on Lithium Batteries Confirms U.S. Must Take Action Now

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) today welcomes the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Air Navigation Commission’s work in recommending a ban on lithium-ion battery shipments on passenger airliners until adequate safety regulations are in place.

Unfortunately, ICAO’s actions don’t resolve the safety risk caused by bulk shipment of lithium batteries on cargo aircraft.

“It’s time the U.S. government takes decisive action to develop regulations that ensure the safe shipment of lithium batteries by air,” said ALPA’s President Tim Canoll.  “We’ve already lost at least one flight crew and two aircraft as a result of lithium battery fires. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”

The Air Navigation Commission’s recommendation will now be considered by the ICAO Council. Almost all passenger airlines in the United States had already voluntarily banned the shipment of lithium batteries.  This action does nothing to improve the safety of lithium battery shipment on cargo aircraft.

In the United States, credible evidence continues to support the risks of fire posed by the shipment of large quantities of lithium batteries by air. U.S cargo airlines account for the vast majority of bulk shipments of lithium batteries to the United States. ALPA encourages ICAO to act expeditiously on addressing the cargo concerns outlined in the Air Navigation Commission’s recent recommendation.

“ALPA has long advocated for the expedited development of packaging standards that would help protect the aircraft and all on board from the effects of a lithium battery fire. As the international community moves forward on developing a long-term plan that allows for the safe transport of lithium batteries, we urge the Department of Transportation to recognize ICAO’s recent work and further safeguard air transportation by fully regulating all shipments of lithium batteries as dangerous goods and expanding the temporary ban to include all U.S. domestic air shipments on passenger and cargo airlines. It is critical to ensure maximum protection for all passengers, crews, and cargo,” added Canoll.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 52,000 pilots at 30 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or