According to the panel's proposal, an overheating laptop battery could cause a significant blaze in a cargo hold that fire fighting equipment aboard the plane would not be able to extinguish which could "lead to the loss of the aircraft".
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) might consider a ban on laptops from checked baggage on planes due to a fire risk under a proposal being recommended by a global air safety panel, a media report said. The ICAO, a Canada-based UN organisation, will decide on the move at its meeting later this month, the CNN report said. Even if the organisation endorses the proposal from its Dangerous Goods Panel, which is making the recommendation, it would be up to regulators in individual nations to pass rules to enforce it. According to the panel’s proposal, an overheating laptop battery could cause a significant blaze in a cargo hold that fire fighting equipment aboard the plane would not be able to extinguish which could “lead to the loss of the aircraft”.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not commented on the proposal. But it is represented on the panel that is supporting the ban, and its research on the risk of fires from laptops is included in the proposal. The concern that lithium batteries pose a fire hazard on planes is not new, reports CNN. There have been studies on the risk of fires on planes posed by lithium batteries going back years. In 2015 US airlines banned hoverboards from their planes due to concerns about the fire risk posed by their lithium batteries.
The fear that terrorists could try to hide explosives in laptops prompted the US Department of Homeland Security to ban laptops from the cabin of planes coming from certain international airports earlier this year. However, those rules banning laptops from cabins have been removed for most of those airports due to new screening procedures.