CAAT tackles power bank flight risk

THE Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CATT) is getting ready to issue a new announcement requiring airlines to train their crews on handling a recognized risk of low-grade power banks catching fire during flights, Thai News Agency reported today (Sept 22, 2018).

Mr Chula Sukmanop, CAAT’s director general, said foreign airlines are now more aware of the problem of power banks and mobile phones, which are widely manufactured but sometimes of suspect quality, catching fire.

It has been found that when these low-grade sets are used on the aircraft they sometimes get extremely hot creating a risk of smoke and fire erupting in the passenger cabin.

While there are no statistics of such incidents on airplanes, the risk is apparent and many airlines have started finding preventive measures.

CAAT has already issued an announcement permitting passengers and crew to carry no more than 2 power banks of 100-160 Wh or 20,000-32,000 mAh capacity in their carry-on baggage.

Mr Chula said CAAT is getting ready to issue an announcement that airline crews be trained to handle power bank fire emergencies. The agency will be designing the training standards so that the crew can quickly handle such emergencies.

Experts have warned that low-quality Lithium Ion batteries that pack a lot of power and are cheap can short-circuit and explode or catch fire if they are defective.

Top: A power bank ablaze during a flight. Photo: Thai News Agency