The drastic video showing the risks and realities of Lithium Battery transports that Qatar Airways Cargo’s Chief Officer Cargo, Guillaume Halleux showed at the start of his keynote presentation at the World Cargo Symposium in Dublin in October 2021, left a lasting impact. Qatar Airways Cargo has long advocated for stringent regulations and action in this field and has now become IATA CEIV Lithium Battery certified. Just one of a number of steps in its Next Generation direction over the past 12 months.
Qatar Airways is just the second airline in the world to become IATA CEIV Lithium Battery certified since the certification was launched at that same WCS in 2021, and Qatar Aviation Services is
the first ground handling company to be certified globally. More airlines and handlers should follow suit in a topic that is ever present and increasingly so. Yet, this fact also underlines the
airline’s future vision. With Next Generation, it is shaping and anticipating the air cargo industry of the future, and, as the world’s leading cargo airline, is taking its role as example-setter
Safety is utmost concern
"Passenger and cargo safety is our utmost concern at all times, and we have continuously advocated for proper regulation in the transport of lithium batteries,” says Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker. “We are happy to be the second airline to be certified and we encourage all air industry players to become certified. As an industry, we must focus on active risk prevention and that is achieved through strict regulation, training, and compliance.” Active risk prevention included the replacement of the carrier’s ULD fleet with Safran's Fire Resistant Containers over the coming years. Around 70% of the 10,000-strong fleet has already been completed to date, since the initial announcement to do so was made in October 2021. These containers can resist a lithium-based fire for up to 6 hours.
QR Cargo helped design the CEIV Lithium Battery program
Guillaume Halleux’s speech at the WCS was based on the airline’s experience and ideas to date, which it had also shared, alongside Qatar Aviation Services with the IATA working group that designed, developed, and implemented the CEIV Lithium Battery program. Aim of this certification is to improve safety in handling and transportation of lithium batteries throughout the supply chain. Guillaume Halleux points out the growing enormity of this particular commodity: “Lithium batteries play a huge part in our daily life, from the toys we buy for our children, to the laptops we use every day, and the cars we drive, to name but a few examples. Yet, they also pose a huge daily risk for air travel and transport: one that Qatar Airways has always highlighted and worked to prevent as best possible. We are happy to see this now starting to happen with air cargo industry companies voluntarily undergoing CEIV Lithium Battery certification. Our plan now is to work with our global partners, ground handlers, shippers, and freighter forwarders, to ensure a solid and common understanding of the risks of moving lithium batteries, and to drive positive change in the industry.”
Positive change through Next Generation, too
2022 was a year successful milestone year for Qatar Airways Cargo, which saw the launch of its Next Generation vision and the application of this to all areas of its business. This led to a number of service enhancements, sustainability and WeQare measures, plus accelerated digital transformation. The latter included the go-live of the carrier’s own Digital Lounge - a new web platform designed to provide a more streamlined and connected booking experience to customers – and its definitive move to also market its capacities on the air cargo industry’s three leading bookings platforms. Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways Cargo, comments: “We are really proud of all that we accomplished in 2022. Launching The Next Generation has allowed us to bring an entirely new perspective to everyone involved in the air cargo value chain. This truly represents a milestone in our development and in the way Qatar Airways Cargo is doing business. We are grateful to our customers for their long-term trust and loyalty, and we will endeavor to preserve these relationships in the future. We are also thankful to our great teams for their dedication and hard work. With a motto such as "Moved by People", Qatar Airways Cargo has always been aware of the major role played by its team in achieving success and is committed to promote it.”
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