Aircraft makers call lithium battery shipments on passenger planes 'unacceptable risk'

Industrials Associated Press

Aircraft manufacturers are urging a ban on bulk lithium battery shipments on passenger planes, calling the threat of fires "an unacceptable risk."

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The International Coordination Council of Aerospace Industry Associations, which represents aircraft makers such as Boeing and Airbus, is also calling for stronger packaging and handling regulations for batteries shipped on cargo planes, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.

The paper cites recent testing by the Federal Aviation Administration that shows the batteries emit explosive gases when overheated. It's common for tens of thousands of batteries to be packed into a single shipping container. In the tests, a buildup of gases inside the containers led to explosions and violent fires.

Rechargeable lithium batteries are used in products ranging from cellphones and laptops to power tools.