Boeing warning of lithium-ion batteries

Planemaker Boeing has advised passenger airline customers not to carry large quantities of lithium-ion batteries as bellyhold cargo until improved packaging is in place.
The guidance, sent to airlines around the globe by Boeing, urged that they not carry the batteries as cargo "until safer methods of packaging and transport are established and implemented," Boeing spokesman Doug Alder told The Associated Press in an email.
Fires in consignments of lithium batteries have been implicated in the loss of three aircraft over the last 10 years.
It is estimated that 5.5bn lithium batteries were produced in 2013, 86% of them lithium ion and the remainder the lithium metal type.
Halon-based aircraft fire suppressant systems will extinguish lithium ion battery fires but are less effective against lithium metal batteries.
In response to the Boeing advisory, the Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) said: “We look forward to continuing our engagement with Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, the airline industry and regulators at the ICAO battery meeting in late July to discuss battery transportation issues, specifically a new and unprecedented lithium ion battery standard and packaging criteria.”
PRBA added: “Ongoing international regulatory initiatives, along with the development of innovative fire suppression technologies and more robust international enforcement efforts are reducing risk and advancing battery safety.
“Together, these ambitious efforts to improve transportation safety mitigate the need to prohibit air shipments of lithium ion batteries used daily in thousands of consumer, aerospace, medical, military, transportation and environmental applications.”

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