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EASA issues recommendations to operators on carriage of large Personal Electronic Devices
19 December 2017

FAA fire test of laptop battery thermal runaway with aerosol can in suitcase.

On 5 April 2017, EASA published SIB 2017-04 to alert operators on the risks associated with the carriage of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) in the checked baggage, and to recommend mitigating actions when the carriage of large PEDs in the cabin is prohibited. PEDs containing lithium batteries carried by passengers should be carried in the passenger cabin, to enable the crew to react expeditiously in case an incident involving such a PED occurs.

Recent testing performed by the FAA showed that if a thermal runaway event occurs to a large PED carried in a checked baggage together with flammable materials, such as hair spray, there is a poor chance that a Class D cargo compartment could contain the resulting fire, and a fair to poor chance that a Class C cargo compartment could contain it.

Based on this, EASA now recommends operators to:

  • Inform passengers that large PEDs should be carried in the passenger cabin whenever possible;
  • Request passengers to ensure that any large PED that cannot be carried in the passenger cabin (e.g. due to its size), and therefore has to be carried in checked baggage, is:
    – Completely switched off and effectively protected from accidental activation. To ensure the device is never powered on during its transport, any application, alarm or pre-set configuration that may activate it shall be disabled or deactivated;
    – Protected from the risk of accidental damage by applying suitable packaging or casing or by being placed in a rigid bag protected by adequate cushioning (e.g. clothing);
    – Not carried in the same baggage together with flammable material (e.g. perfumes, aerosols, etc.);
  • Make the carriage of large PEDs in checked baggage in Class D cargo compartments subject to measures effectively mitigating the associated risks.

Furthermore, where carry-on bags are put in the hold (e.g. due to the lack of space) operators are reminded to ensure that passengers are requested to remove from the bag any spare batteries or e-cigarettes.

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