UK’s CAA Prosecutes Amazon UK over Flying Lithium-Ion Batteries

22nd July 2015

Lithium-ion batteries are becoming some of the preferred batteries for electronics especially laptops since they can make the equipment’s power last for a long time. However, they are also extremely dangerous as they can overheat and cause fire.Hence, when transporting lithium batteries, the organisation must meet the transport requirements and declare the package content.

It doesn’t come as a surprise therefore when the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of the United Kingdom has persecuted Amazon, one of the largest online retail stores, for bending the rules and sending loose lithium-ion batteries by plane. It is believed that these batteries were meant to be replacements in laptops and mobile phones. Further, these very small batteries will be delivered across UK and in other countries. 

Overall, Amazon UK received 11 charges from UK’s CAA through its prosecuting attorney, Alison Slater. On the other hand, speaking on behalf of Amazon, Stephen Spence told the magistrates court of Westminster that although they didn’t oppose the facts presented by the CAA, they also stressed the company practiced reasonable care. The company had yet to enter their pleas for each of the charges while the court remains adjourned until July 27. The prosecution is planning to add one more charge.

 

Aside from lithium-ion batteries, Amazon was also accused of violating the transport code for washes for car screens and flammable aerosols.

Many aviation accidents have been believed to be caused by the transport of lithium-ion batteries, particularly the loose ones. These include Air France, which crashed in 2010 during its trans-Atlantic flight, and a cargo plane crash that killed all UPS passengers. Flight MH370 of Malaysian Airlines has been subjected to many theories as the plane and its passengers remain missing, but one of the stories is it’s carrying lithium-ion batteries in bulk.

These batteries, whether non-rechargeable or rechargeable, can generate a lot of power and thus may heat up quickly. The way they have been assembled or designed may also make them volatile materials. Effective January 2015, the guidelines in transporting these types of batteries have been amended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).  

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