Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Passing through Dubai on my way to the World Food Programme Global Aviation Safety Conference in Sharjah (more about that later) I read an article in the local 'free-to-air' newspaper, regarding the recent 747 freighter crash here. Maybe not the best source of reliable aviation safety intelligence but the piece heavily pushed the theory that the smoke reported by the crew prior to the accident may have emanated from lithium batteries, of which they were apparently carrying many.

The debate over the safety of lithium batteries for air carriage has gone on for a long time but had dropped of my radar of late - I think I assumed they had been shown to be safe. If there is even the remotest possibility that they will be implicated in this latest tragedy, the industry must use this as a stimulus for conclusive research to put the question to bed for ever. Either they are safe to carry on aircraft or they are not! These things are everywhere nowadays and we really do need to know.

If it wasn't batteries then what was it?

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