Experts believe that these batteries are the main source of several plane fires in the past couple of years. In 2010, UPS Airlines operated a Boeing 747 cargo plane developed in-flight fire leading to crashing in a depopulated area in Dubai. Both crewmembers were killed in this accident. FAA investigation revealed that the cargo plane was carrying huge amount of lithium-ion batteries on-board. In 2011, Asiana Airlines cargo plane, which was carrying nearly 880lb of lithium batteries crash-landed in Korea Strait killing the crewmembers. Even though the main cause of fire was never ascertained, the International Civil Aviation Organization recommended new safety standards for carrying these kinds of batteries. In 2006, due to fire an emergency landing by was made by a UPS cargo plane at the Philadelphia International Airport. No one was harmed in this case. Even in this case the cause of fire was never known but the National Transportation Safety Board put forth recommendation pertaining to the transportation of the lithium-ion batteries. Apart from this, reports suggest that the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was also carrying nearly 440 of lithium-ion batteries. This added to all the mystery pertaining to the disappearance of the cargo last year.
What are the new rules?
Airlines are starting to feel the pressure due to increased focus on the battery safety, prompting the technology industry to develop safer methods of battery transportation. Current production of Lithium-ion batteries is expected to be around 8 million by 2025. These batteries are used for powering laptops, phones, and digital devices. According to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization safety standards, the transportation of these batteries on a passenger plane is expected to be limited to being a handful in single box.
FAA also revealed that lithium-metal batteries (not rechargeable) and are used in calculators and cameras will catch fire faster when compared to other versions. UN has already banned the shipment of these batteries on passenger planed in 2014.