Battery association challenges FAA study

The Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) has challenged the Federal Aviation Administration’s September study detailing the risk of transporting lithium batteries by air. Dismissing the research as “flawed,” the PRBA expressed concern about the FAA’s methodology, data and conclusions.

PRBA officials laid out their opposition to the study in a letter to Dr. Katherine Rooney, secretary of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Dangerous Goods Panel.

A key area of concern, the association explained to Rooney, involves the FAA’s conclusion that batteries contributed to two aircraft incidents simply because they were on board. What’s more, the PRBA wrote, the FAA “developed its risk model from this assumption.”

“But no facts are presented that indicate any involvement of batteries in the incidents,” the letter stated. “The presence of batteries on board certainly is not enough to justify this assumption and should not be the basis for FAA’s next study on the cost-benefit ratios for various mitigation strategies.”

Such assumptions have also caused “unwarranted scare mongering” in the press and taken attention away from key safety issues, the PRBA wrote to Rooney. “Everyone agrees improperly packaged lithium batteries should not be shipped as cargo,” the letter stated. “This safety goal can best be achieved by rigorous enforcement that will ensure compliance with existing international battery transportation regulations.”

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