Qantas Joins Ban on Lithium Batteries Shipments

Joining carriers, including United Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Airlines and others, Australian carrier Qantas has announced it will no longer accept shipments of lithium-ion batteries on its passenger planes or freighters because of worries about the adequacy of current packaging and the potential for fire or even explosions.

The ban applies to individually packed batteries, rather than those packed with equipment.

It will not affect passengers who will be able to continue to travel with lithium-ion batteries in phones, tablets and computers. Qantas said it would also make an exception if a shipment of batteries was required for emergency purposes.

ICAO is called for taking action
The ban follows similar action by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) as well as the International Coordination Council for Aerospace Industry Associations, which recently made a submission to ICAO recommending that carriage of lithium-ion batteries be banned on passenger aircraft until new types of protective packaging are developed.

An industry group, including aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier, had earlier warned that current firefighting systems on airliners cannot "suppress or extinguish a fire involving significant quantities of lithium batteries," posing an "unacceptable risk" for the industry.

Nol van Fenema

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