Battery Fires: FAA to Back Ban on Passenger Plane Shipments
The risk of fire is prompting federal officials to back a proposed ban on rechargeable lithium battery shipments as cargo on passenger airlines.
“We believe the risk is immediate and urgent,” Angela Stubblefield, a Federal Aviation Administration hazardous materials official, said at a public meeting on Thursday. She cited research showing the batteries can cause explosions and fires capable of destroying a plane.
Billions of the lithium-ion batteries are used to power consumer electronics ranging from cellphones and laptops to power tools and toothbrushes. Tens of thousands of the batteries are often shipped on a single plane.
FAA tests show that even a small number of overheating batteries emit gases that can cause explosions and fires that can’t be prevented by current fire suppression systems.