Qatar Airways continues campaign for safe transport of lithium batteries

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Qatar Airways has become the second airline in the world to become IATA CEIV Lithium Battery certified and Qatar Aviation Services is the first ground handling company to be certified globally.

The certification aims to improve safety in handling and transportation of lithium batteries throughout the supply chain. Both Qatar Airways and Qatar Aviation Services played a key role in the design and implementation of IATA’s recent CEIV Lithium Battery programme, and continue to be actively involved in its fine-tuning and adaption.

“Passenger and cargo safety is our utmost concern at all times, and we have continuously advocated for proper regulation in the transport of lithium batteries. We are happy to be the second airline to be certified and we encourage all air industry players to become certified. As an industry, we must focus on active risk prevention and that is achieved through strict regulation, training, and compliance,” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, said.

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“Lithium batteries play a huge part in our daily life, from the toys we buy for our children, to the laptops we use every day, and the cars we drive, to name but a few examples. Yet, they also pose a huge daily risk for air travel and transport: one that Qatar Airways has always highlighted and worked to prevent as best possible. We are happy to see this now starting to happen with air cargo industry companies voluntarily undergoing CEIV Lithium Battery certification,” Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways Cargo, added.

“Our plan now is to work with our global partners, ground handlers, shippers, and freighter forwarders, to ensure a solid and common understanding of the risks of moving lithium batteries, and to drive positive change in the industry,” he continued.

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Halleux urged for faster regulation and compliance adoption concerning lithium batteries in his key note speech at the World Cargo Symposium in Dublin in October 2021. Shortly thereafter, Qatar Airways Cargo announced the complete rollover of its 10,000+ ULD fleet to Safran Cabin’s newly developed Fire-Resistant Containers (FRC), designed to resist a lithium-based fire for up to 6 hours. To date, it has already replaced 9,000 of its ULDs, surpassing the 70% goal it set itself for 2022, and will continue the exchange process in 2023.

Lithium batteries are in very widespread use in a range of consumer products from smartphones to electric scooters, while the risks associated with their usage and carriage amongst consumers are not well known. As a global network carrier and integrated group of aviation businesses the issues relate to both Qatar Airways and Qatar Airways Cargo principally, therefore driving greater awareness of the handling of Lithium batteries will help improve safety in the air transport industry.

The Center of Excellence for Independent Validators Lithium Batteries (CEIV Li-batt) certification programme will ensure the elements of the supply chain involved in the shipment of these batteries are able to meet their regulatory requirements. The CEIV Lithium Battery family is IATA’s most recent CEIV certification. It is in line with similar certifications for the handling of pharmaceuticals, perishables, and live animals.