Panel Proposes Ban on Air Shipments of Batteries

WASHINGTON (AP) – Officials say a U.N. aviation panel is recommending a ban on shipping rechargeable batteries as cargo on passenger airliners because the batteries can create fires capable of destroying planes.

The International Civilian Aviation Organization’s air navigation commission, the agency’s highest technical body, also proposed that the ban be lifted if new packaging can be developed that provides an acceptable level of safety.

The officials spoke on condition that they not be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Final approval from the ICAO top-level council is still needed. The council is scheduled to take up the matter in late February.

Lithium-ion batteries are used to power everything from cellphones and laptops to hybrid and electric cars. About 30 percent are shipped by air.

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