The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Friday alerted airlines of the results of new research on risks associated with transporting lithium batteries as cargo on aircraft, and recommended actions to reduce those risks reports American Shipper. In a Safety Alert for Operators the FAA summarized recent research, which shows that lithium metal (non-rechargeable) and lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries are highly flammable and capable of igniting during air transport under certain circumstances.
FAA research also indicates that Halon 1301, the suppression agent found in Class C cargo compartments, is ineffective in suppressing lithium metal battery fires. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in coordination with FAA, is considering the best course of action to address the risk posed by lithium batteries. New rules under consideration may include new packaging and training requirements, and tougher guidelines for fire suppression equipment on aircraft that carry the batteries.
The notice can be read here.