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Aircraft makers call for ban on lithium battery shipments: AP

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 20:00

[BENGALURU] Aircraft manufacturers are seeking a ban on shipment of bulk lithium batteries on passenger planes, calling the threat of fire "an unacceptable risk", the Associated Press reported, citing an industry paper.

The International Coordination Council of Aerospace Industry Associations (ICCAIA), which represents manufacturers such as Boeing Co, Airbus Group and Bombardier Inc, has also called for stronger packaging and handling regulations for batteries shipped on cargo planes, AP said.

The International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA), which represents more than 100,000 pilots worldwide, joined the aircraft makers in issuing the paper.

The paper cites recent testing by the Federal Aviation Administration that shows batteries packed in containers emit explosive gases when overheated.

During the tests, a buildup of gases inside the containers led to explosions and violent fires which the aircraft fire protection systems were unable to suppress or extinguish.

The Rechargeable Battery Association said in a statement that lithium-ion battery makers were committed to the safe transport of lithium batteries and the association would continue to work with industry and government officials, AP reported.

The call for the ban pertains only to cargo shipments and applies to both lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries.

Two major US airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, recently decided not to accept rechargeable battery shipments, AP said.

Representatives at ICCAIA, the Federal Aviation Administration, IFALPA and the Rechargeable Battery Association were not immediately available for comment outside regular US business hours.

REUTERS

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