Transportation safety agency calls for lithium-battery cargo restrictions

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently published new safety recommendations that would require lithium batteries to be physically separate from flammable hazardous materials when they are brought onto aircraft as cargo.

In addition, maximum loading-density requirements would be used to limit the volume of batteries and flammable hazardous materials allowed on flights.

The recommendations, filed with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, are the result of an investigation into Asiana Airlines Flight 991, which caught fire in flight and crashed in 2011.

South Korea's Aviation and Railway Accident Investigation Board led the investigation, which determined that lithium batteries as cargo may be a fuel source for an existing fire, an ignition source for fires or explosions or a heat source that may cause an explosion.

“The National Transportation Safety Board urges the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to take action on these safety recommendations to reduce the likelihood and severity of potential cargo fires and to provide additional time for the crew to safely land a cargo aircraft in the event a fire is detected,” NTSB Chairman Christopher  Hart said.

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U.S. National Transportation Safety Board 490 L'Enfant Plaza Washington, DC - 20024

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