Boeing warns passenger airlines against flying bulk battery shipments that can cause fires

IndustrialsAssociated Press

Boeing is warning its passenger airline customers worldwide that flying bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries can cause fires capable of destroying the planes.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder says the U.S aircraft maker advised airlines Friday that they should not carry the batteries as cargo "until safer methods of packaging and transport are established and implemented."

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The rechargeable batteries are used in cellphones, laptop computers, power tools and many other electronic devices. They are also often shipped as cargo on international airline flights.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency, is trying to come up with new standards for packaging that can contain battery fires.

Recent U.S. Federal Aviation Administration tests show that when the batteries overheat they can cause explosions and extremely high-temperature fires.