Aircargo and lithium batteries

Back in March we bought you the news that Qantas Freight would not longer accept lithium ion batteries on their flights.

Recently Asian Shipper reported on an Alaska Airlines flight that had to make an unscheduled landing after a credit card reader that contained lithium ion batteries began smoking.  Here’s the article:

AN Alaska Airlines passenger 737 flight from Newark to Seattle made an emergency landing in Buffalo after a credit card reader, used as the point-of-sale for onboard purchases of food and beverages, began to smoke in the cabin of the aircraft.

The card reader, which was powered by a lithium-ion battery, was a new device recently introduced on Alaska aircraft. This, after the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) warned of the risks of unstoppable fires from lithium batteries,

Said the airline: “While there were no flames at any point during the flight, the flight crew did use a fire extinguisher to stop the device from smoking while arrangements were made for an emergency landing in Buffalo, New York.”

Alaska Airlines has now removed all of its electronic credit card reading machines from its fleet for inspection as a result of the incident, reported Atlanta area Air Cargo World.

The FAA has been warning carriers about the possible danger from lithium-ion batteries, a number of which have over-heated and created fires aboard other planes.

Incidents have mostly occurred in cargo compartments and have prompted the FAA to back a proposed international ban of the batteries as cargo on passenger flights in and out of the US.

There were no injuries to the 181 passengers and six crew members aboard Flight 17, a 737-900ER.

It is important that when you are traveling on a aircraft that you are conscious of any batteries that you might be carrying.  Equally as important is the knowledge that when moving airfreight (aircargo) around the world you are aware of restrictions that are in place.

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Source credit: Asian Shipper