Pilots warn of “catastrophic” fire in hold

Devices like laptops are dangerous if stowed away
Pilots are warning that if electronic devices are confined to the hold, as the Trump administration may demand for some flights from Europe, there is a risk of “catastrophic fire”.
Members of the British Airline Pilots’ Association have voiced their fears of a fire breaking out on flights as the laptop ban shows signs of intensifying.
They say that putting personal devices in the hold could lead to a fire on board due to the unstable lithium batteries inside them.
“Given the risk of fire from these devices when they are damaged or they short circuit, an incident in the cabin would be spotted earlier and this would enable the crew to react quickly before any fire becomes uncontainable,” said Steve Landells, the association’s flight safety specialist.
“If these devices are kept in the hold, the risk is that if a fire occurs the results can be catastrophic; indeed, there have been two crashes where lithium batteries have been cited in the accident reports.”
The risk of storing devices in the hold may be greater than the security risk of having them in the cabin, the pilots argue.
“We don’t doubt the security threats that have led to consideration of extending the ban on devices but we urge the authorities to carefully assess the additional fire risk from storing more PEDs in the hold to ensure we’re not solving one problem by creating a worse one,” Landells said.
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