WASHINGTON – Citing safety concerns, United Airlines says it will no longer accept bulk shipments of rechargeable lithium batteries of the kind that power everything from smartphones to laptops to power tools.
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United is the second major U.S. airline to decide it will no longer accept lithium-ion battery shipments. Delta Air Lines stopped accepting the bulk shipments last month.
It's not uncommon for tens of thousands of the batteries to be shipped in a single cargo container aboard a passenger airliner on an international flight.
Federal Aviation Administration tests over the past year show that when a single battery overheats it can result in a chain reaction, causing other batteries to short circuit and overheat. As they overheat, the batteries emit explosive gases. Several tests have resulted in fierce explosions and fires.