PAL suspends cargo carriage of lithium ion batteries
PAL suspends cargo carriage of lithium ion batteries
The suspension of lithium ion battery shipments coincides with the growing number of international carriers banning the shipment of the product

MANILA, Philippines – Flag carrier Philippine Airlines Inc (PAL) is no longer accepting lithium ion batteries for carriage as cargo, citing potential fire hazards posed by such type of shipment.

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are used in consumer electronics such as mobile telephones and laptop computers. Non-rechargeable lithium metal batteries are generally used to power devices such as watches, calculators, and temperature data loggers.

PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Bautista said the airline is imposing the ban on lithium ion battery shipments, amid the growing number of international carriers banning the shipment of the product.

“Safety is the cornerstone of our operations. We mitigate risks as we assure our passengers of our commitment to safety,” Bautista said.

PAL said shipment of lithium ion and lithium metal batteries packed with or contained in equipment are exempted from the suspension of carriage as cargo, in compliance with regulatory requirements on packaging and labeling.

The airline advised passengers to handcarry their equipment powered by lithium batteries along with their spare batteries.

Carriage of spare lithium batteries would be limited.

PAL added that recalled or damaged batteries are not allowed as carry-on, checked baggage or cargo shipment.

BBC News reported in March this year that experts think lithium batteries have contributed to several cargo plane fires in recent years, like the UPS Airlines in-flight fire in 2010 that crashed in an uninhabited Dubai area, and the Asiana Airlines 2011 cargo plane crash, which was found out to be carrying 400 kilograms of lithium batteries.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommended new safety standards for the carriage of such batteries, while Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tests showed that overheating batteries could cause major fires.

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