Concerns Over Lithium Battery Airliner Crash
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The subject of lithium battery safety on flights was heavily debated this week at a World Cargo Event held in Dublin, highlighting concerns that it may take an airliner to crash before proper regulations are introduced.
One prominent speaker, from a major airline, suggested that it could take hundreds of deaths before proper regulations are introduced in regard to screening.
He went on to cite three examples of major incidents, caused by poorly packed lithium batteries, that happened on the airline’s aircraft, but thankfully did not result in a crash. On one occasion the batteries were only separated by an A4 piece of paper and all incidents were fraudulently declared.
While Lithium batteries are considered safe to users, when installed in electronic devices such as mobile phones and power tools, they can actually be punctured and can ignite or even explode. When handled or stored together, this can can lead to fires, which is why they are considered dangerous goods.
IATA has launched a certification programme in a bid to boost safety in the carriage of lithium batteries, although criminalising false declarations is the next step.
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New rules have been introduced for the movement of lithium batteries by air. Effective from 1st April 2022, the changes were buried in the recent IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.
China has been cracking down on imports and exports of dangerous goods and recent weeks have seen even more stringent checks and at times over zealous applications of the rules.
An aircraft caught fire on Saturday, with the focus being on Lithium Batteries. The Russian made Tupolev Tu-204C was due to fly to Russia before it caught fire.