A fire which broke out onboard an Ethiopian Airlines 777 freighter in late July has again raised concerns about the safety of lithium batteries and cargo misdeclaration. The aircraft was being loaded in Shanghai, China when the fire broke out, and sources have advised that 3 pallets of lithium batteries were onboard the flight at the time of the fire.
Lithium ion and lithium metal batteries are prohibited on passenger aircraft, however, can be carried on freighters, provided shippers adhere to the strict regulations imposed by the airlines. These regulations were put in place due to issues with undeclared counterfeit batteries, improper packaging and misdeclared batteries in the past.
IATA (International Air Transport Association) has argued in the past that it is these types of batteries that cause problems, and which will get onto aircraft despite measures against them, while legitimate manufacturers will lose out.
For more information, contact Debbie McGuire, Manager – Freight Solutions.