All-cargo airline Cargolux has decided to temporarily impose a ban on the transport of lithium-ion battery bulk shipments beginning May 1. The decision came after the carrier reviewed new information released by the FAA, Boeing and International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) regarding the effectiveness of on-board fire extinguishing systems. The FAA tests showed that an aircraft’s fire protection system is unable to suppress a fire involving a significant amount of the batteries, and that transporting the batteries is an unacceptable risk.
Cargolux joins Delta, United, Qantas and Cathay Pacific in banning the transport of lithium-ion batteries. Some lithium-metal batteries had already been banned by Cargolux following a dedicated risk assessment conducted in previous years.
This ban does not apply to lithium-ion batteries packed with or contained in items such as laptop computers and cell phones.
The carrier will assess different options to identify if technology exists or if new technology can be developed in order to make the transportation of bulk shipments of lithium batteries safe.