Boeing Joins Campaign against Lithium Ion Batteries Shipment

2nd August 2015

Though notices and warnings are issued to most airlines regarding the shipment of lithium ion batteries, freighter operators can still experience a surge in the transport of these dangerous goods despite their associated risks. Hence, Boeing, the planemaker company now joined to the said campaign. 

Lithium batteries can cause fire.

Boeing is making its efforts to encourage passenger airline companies not to transport lithium ion batteries while there are no definite ways on how to safely package and ship these dangerous goods.

The planemaker company’s campaign is showing considerable effects as Cargolux, an all-cargo operator, considers the ban of the bulk shipment of lithium ion batteries.

While others are against the complete ban of lithium ion batteries, stating that fire mishaps caused by these dangerous goods can be easily extinguished if only placed in the main deck rather than the heart or belly of the freight cargo.

However, pilot associations still remain immovable in their decision to implement the same set of ban shipment rules of passenger carriers to freighters as well.

On the other hand, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (US FAA) also passed a statement indicating that lithium ion batteries undoubtedly present a risk. The said administration conducted a series of tests to show the dangers posed by lithium ion batteries.

Based on the experiment results, when the batteries short-circuit, they will give off gases that can trigger extreme fires and explosions when accidentally lighted.

To solve this matter about the transport of lithium ion batteries, this month, there will be representatives coming from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to talk about these dangerous products’ new packaging method.

But in the event that they won’t arrive to a particular conclusion in their meeting, the United Nations agency will probably set forth to the complete banning of battery shipments during their upcoming meeting on October.

Of course, the Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) is not so happy about these new restrictions that most companies and organizations impose on lithium ion batteries. But PRBA reiterated that they share Boeing’s good intention of “improving the safe transport of bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries by air.”

The PRBA understands that these new efforts exerted by companies and organizations in the airline industry are meant to promote transportation safety. However, the said association felt that lithium ion batteries are being ‘unfairly targeted’ considering the fact that there haven’t been any reported major incidents among shipments that fully comply with the standard dangerous goods rules and regulations.

PRBA Executive Director George Kerchner said that they should also “consider the unique hazards associated with the carriage of any dangerous goods, not just those associated with lithium batteries.”

Though Boeing only reached out to passenger airlines, pilots of cargo airlines are also concerned with their operations, especially when it comes to the shipment of dangerous goods such as lithium ion batteries.

Hence, the Air Line Pilots Association followed suit to ban the transport of lithium ion batteries in their cargo aircrafts, and the company will only lift the ban if safety procedures are already developed.


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