Qatar Airways chief officer cargo Guillaume Halleux issued an impassioned call for regulators to take steps to counter the threat of rouge lithium-ion battery shipments.
Speaking at IATA’s World Cargo Symposium in Dublin, Halleux said the airline had suffered three near misses with rogue battery shipments in recent years. The common denominator in each of these incidents was the mis-declaration of goods, making it hard for any supply chain players to pick up on the risk.
He added that industry-wide there has been four incidents in the last 15 years that have resulted in hull loss and in some of these instances the loss of life. There have also been 322 air/airport incidents registered from 2006 to May 2021 involving lithium-ion battery cargo of which 18 were in 2020.
Halleux advocated the screening of cargo for lithium battery shipments to solve the issue of mis-declaration.
However, he said this process needed to be implemented at a regulatory level and not left to individual airlines to introduce the stricter screening process.
Halleux explained that carriers acting individually would be at a commercial disadvantage to those that do not because of the cost and time it takes for the additional level of screening.