Fri, Feb 13, 2009 - Page 2 News List

CAA amends rules on batteries

LAPTOPS UNAFFECTEDOnly Li-ion batteries with a capacity in excess of 100 watt-hours are affected by the changes, while most laptops have a 43 watt-hour capacity

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Starting next week, aircraft passengers carrying Li-ion batteries with a capacity exceeding 100 watt-hours must not place them in their check-in luggage, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.

Passengers will be fined NT$20,000 to NT$100,000 for violating the rule, it said.

Director of the CAA’s air transport division Chen Tien-tsyh (陳天賜) said the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency under the UN, amended its flight safety codes at the beginning of this year because of the rising number of accidents caused by short-circuiting Li-ion batteries.

Although not an official member of the ICAO, the nation has also amended the relevant regulations to be in step with ICAO standards that are widely accepted by the international community, Chen said.

“The new policy regulates batteries that have a capacity that exceeds 100 watt-hours. Generally, they are used by large electronic devices, such as video cameras used by television stations,” he said. “Currently, one can only carry a maximum of two such batteries as backup in carry-on luggage and they must be covered by insulators.”

Chen said that the Li-ion batteries that ordinary passengers carry on trips have a much smaller capacity, including those used in digital cameras, mobile phones, calculators, watches and laptops. Laptop batteries, for example, have only a 43 watt-hour capacity, he said.

Batteries used in these small electronic devices will not be affected by the new policy, he said.

Chen said that passengers carrying back-up Li-ion batteries with a capacity of less than 100 watt-hours could choose to carry them on board or place them in their check-in luggage, provided they are adequately insulated and do not weigh more than 2kg. There are no limitations on the number of batteries passengers are allowed to carry, he said.

In related news, the CAA also issued an emergency order yesterday suspending all flights of the Zodiac CH601 XL, a light aircraft manufactured by a company in the Czech Republic.

The CAA said in a statement that the aircraft’s wings had broken in several recent accidents, leading to the death and injury of aviation personnel.

The design of the aircraft’s wings has been identified as the cause of the accidents, it said, adding that the aviation authority in the Netherlands had already issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive to suspend all flights of the aircraft.

The statement said the CAA had approved the importation of two Zodiac CH601 aircraft in 2005.

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