Is FAA lithium battery warning a taste of things to come

FOLLOWING the UPS freighter crash in Dubai, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an alert to the transport of lithium batteries.

In a statement, the FAA said: “[We are] concerned about the risk that lithium batteries pose to aviation safety in the event of an onboard fire. As a result of this concern, [we] are considering additional appropriate actions to address these safety risks.”

It recommended that customers identify bulk shipments of lithium batteries, even those within currently accepted amounts; carriers should stow them in cargo compartments equipped with fire alarms; additional training in their handling should be given to personnel; and extra care should be given to their handling.

While the crash investigation is still ongoing it is heavily suspected that a consignment of lithium batteries caught fire with the resulting smoke causing the crash. The FAA has not specifically linked this recent alert and the crash but it is a clear indication of its concern. It is also likely that the FAA is working on future specifications should the investigation confirm lithium batteries were the cause of the fire.

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