Airline passengers in Australia have been asked to avoid putting certain electronics into checked luggage.
The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) issued an official warning on 2 August that additional screening initiatives would go into effect following a rise in incidents related to lithium batteries in items such as MP3 players, mobile phones and laptops.
John McCormick, the CASA’s director of aviation safety warned travellers that lithium batteries can burn due to short circuits during transport and added that it’s important that they’re carried in hand luggage where the problem can be properly managed in flight. He said that flight crews have undergone specific training to deal with such issues and know how to respond quickly and effectively to lithium fires.
Lithium fires are common on airlines and can pose a serious threat when they occur in the cargo hold of an aircraft. Last year saw a lithium fire cause a UPS cargo flight to crash in the United Arab Emirates, killing six people and prompting America’s Federal Aviation Administration to urge aviation authorities and airlines to be vigilant about dangers involved with lithium batteries onboard aircraft.
China also recently put new regulations into force regarding checked batteries after a fire incident took place on a commercial flight in May due to a checked video camera.