Position Paper

Transport of lithium batteries as cargo

Oct 20, 2014

Abstract

Since their introduction in the early 1990s Lithium batteries have been responsible for over 40 reported incidents involving smoke, fire, extreme heat or explosion in air transport. The incidents have occurred both in the passenger cabin and in cargo compartments when batteries have been shipped as cargo on passenger and cargo-only aircraft. Furthermore testing has shown that a Lithium battery fire can easily propagate through an entire shipment of batteries, and that fire suppression systems on aircraft may be ineffective in controlling a Lithium battery fire. Additionally, lithium battery shipments have been shown to greatly exacerbate a fire external to the shipment.