Laptops may soon be banned from check-in baggage of flights in India, reports state. Large personal electronic devices (PED) could be discontinued from check-in bags due to fears that their battery fire could go undetected, which can cause possible catastrophes.
A senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said that international aviation agencies have begun considering banning big PEDs from check-in bags, and once a decision is taken by any leading aviation agency, India is also going to follow suit, the Times of India reported.
Other electronic devices like power banks, portable mobile chargers and e-cigarettes are already banned from check-in baggage in flights in the country.
Such PED devices, however, are allowed in handbags currently as cabin crew are now trained to handle PED fires as soon as anyone notices smoke emitting from any bag on the flight. Reports state that a mobile phone caught fire on a Delhi-Indore flight, but the cabin crew efficiently swept in and doused the fire.
Reports state that the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) dangerous goods panel is currently examining a paper on "PEDs carried by passengers and crew" to address safety issues of PEDs being carried in luggage. ICAO is a United Nations agency.
The American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reportedly submitted its test results in the ICAO paper. Reports state that the FAA results conclude that a fire caused by a PED kept in cargo hold could possibly "lead to loss of aircraft."
"FAA fire safety branch conducted 10 tests utilising a fully charged laptop computer inside a suitcase. A heater was placed against a lithium ion cell in the battery of a laptop to force it into thermal runaway.... it was concluded that if a PED is packed in a suitcase with an aerosol can and a thermal runaway event occurs, there is the potential for an aerosol can explosion.... (In some cases) the fire suppression system of the aircraft is then compromised, which could lead to the loss of the aircraft," the ICAO paper stated.