As a foundation member of IFALPA, the AFAP is informed about global best practice on safety and technical matters. In line with current IFALPA policy, the AFAP feels obliged to inform the community about safety issues (particularly an increased risk of battery fires) created by an increasing number of international carriers and regulators requiring large personal electronic devices (PEDs) to be carried in checked baggage only.
Based on their own security assessments, some countries have recently banned large PEDs in the passenger cabins of aircraft on specific routes. This will result in a significant increase in the number of computers, tablets, cameras and other lithium battery-powered devices transported in checked baggage.
This raises several safety concerns. The known fire risk dangers associated with lithium batteries and lithium battery-powered devices are well known. Because of those risks, lithium ion batteries are prohibited from being carried in cargo quantities on passenger aircraft. Furthermore, and perhaps most critically, fire suppression systems currently fitted on air transport aircraft are ineffective in controlling lithium battery fires in the cargo hold.
The risks are presently managed by existing international and local packaging, shipping and other requirements. However, since the regulations and procedures were developed against an understanding that most passengers typically carry PEDs in the passenger cabin, and not in checked baggage, the AFAP strongly believes that additional risk assessments should be performed by operators enforcing or implementing a PED cabin ban. Further and stricter mitigation strategies should be implemented, including:
The AFAP is the largest industrial and professional association representing Australian commercial air pilots.
- procedures to ensure that PEDs moved to checked baggage are completely depowered and will remain so for the duration of the flight;
- procedures to ensure that PEDs are protected from damage during loading and unloading;
- consideration of the risk of interaction between increased numbers of lithium battery-powered devices in close proximity to each other during flight;
- consideration of the risks associated with increased numbers of lithium battery-powered devices put in close proximity to other DGs transported in passenger baggage and general cargo holds.
Please direct media enquiries to:
Peter Gardiner, AFAP Safety & Technical Director
M 0410 591 388 E firstname.lastname@example.org