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Lithium batteries top CASA’s most dangerous goods list

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 20, 2014

The result of a lithium battery fire on board a Fiji Airways 737 on the ground in Melbourne. (ATSB)
The result of a lithium battery fire on board a Fiji Airways 737 on the ground in Melbourne. (ATSB)

Lithium batteries have topped the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA) list of potentially dangerous items to take on an aircraft.

The list was released in conjunction with a new “Can I pack that?” dangerous goods (DG) app to inform travellers about how dangerous some everyday objects are when taken on board an aircraft, as well as any special packing instructions.

CASA said lithium batteries were number one on the list after they ignited a fire in the cargo hold of a Fiji Airways Boeing 737-800 at Melbourne Airport just before passengers boarded the aircraft bound for Nadi in April 2014.

“The DG app allows users to search for items and find out which ones can be carried on aircraft, what safety precautions need to be taken and whether items need to be placed in checked-in luggage or should be carried on to the aircraft by a passenger,” CASA said in a statement.

“By using the app aircraft passengers will be able to help reduce the more than 300 dangerous goods incidents a year.”

The batteries in the passenger's check-in luggage. (ATSB)
The batteries in the passenger’s check-in luggage. (ATSB)
More damage from the lithium batteries. (ATSB)
More damage from the lithium batteries. (ATSB)



The DG app was available on Apple’s App Store, Google Play and Webapp, as well as on desktops.

Lithium batteries cannot be checked-in and must be hand carried by passengers.

The “top 10 least wanted” for 2014:

  1. Lithium batteries
  2. Gas cylinders and camping stoves
  3. Chainsaws and whipper snippers
  4. Lighters & matches
  5. Ammunition
  6. Fireworks
  7. Aerosol cans-flammable propellant
  8. Lifejackets and flares
  9. Paints
  10. Household chemicals

(Source: CASA)

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Comments (5)

  • Pontious


    Great idea. Don’t even put a mobile in your checked luggage. I’ve had a “fruity” smart phone burst when the battery went a little bit exothermic, although it was contained in the battery packaging. A thought for all those cargo pilots who have died carrying Li ion batteries.

  • Greg


    Wasn’t MH370 carrying lithium batteries in the cargo hold ?

  • Richard Buchanan


    CASA Scare mongering about the very isolated Litium-Ion battery problems?!
    Same as for years they insisted that supposed interference to aeronautic communications from mobile phones & other digital devices onboard airliners, meant that these devices were banned onboard flights, despite industry experts saying this was a gross overreaction by CASA. Now, lo and behold, finally mobile phones/digital devices are now almost universally accepted as not a danger anymore on airliners.

    It should also be remembered that many modern airliners actually run their aeronautic electronics, computers & navaid systems by onboard aeronautic Li-ion batteries, because they are safe and much more weight efficient than earlier battery alternatives.

    Most domestic mobile phones & other portable devices that use Li-ion Batteries of good quality, are quite safe in normal daily use. They can though overheat and become unstable through excessive charging, or discharging (called Thermal Runaway) – so, to prevent any problems with air travel, the logical thing to do is Switch-Off and/or remove the battery from your device.
    Prohibition never solved anything!!!

  • William


    @Richard, I think you’ll find that most aircraft today still use nickel cadium batteries. Boeing tried to install lithium ion batteries on the 787 as a weight saving measure, but the amout of equipment it required to keep it operating normally nullified the weight saving.

    Also, CASA aren’t banning the above the items, ICAO has already done that for most of the items i.e. fireworks and ammunition. However, most of the other items can be carried on aircraft provided they are packed according to the IATA DG regulations. The app is designed to make people aware that wat they are carrying may not be suitable to packed in their luggage or carry-on bags.

  • Martin


    “…very isolated Litium-Ion battery problems?!”… well I hope I am not on an aircraft that encounters an “isolated” problem, regardless of what it is!

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