China Southern B777 – power bank fire onboard

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  stevescoots 28 Feb 2018
at 17:05

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  • Alex McWhirter

    Fortunately the aircraft was on the ground and there were no injuries.

    It was a China Southern domestic flight from Guangzhou to Shanghai. The fire broke out within a passenger’s hand luggage which had been stowed in the overhead locker.


    Atleast in hand luggage and not put into the hold as US wanted to do for UAE flights!


    This is disturbing. Back when there were signs all over the place banning the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in airplanes, I thought that it was severely overhyped compared to all the cheap electronics people carry on planes: noname power banks topping that list. Today we have proof that it is a potential major hazard!

    Not only does this show that something needs to be done in terms of safety for flying passengers (check-in luggage vs. hand carry?) but also brings on a much larger picture: when are countries finally going to start looking into the quality of the electronics imported (vast majority of it from China) because this is starting to become an issue. We hear stories of people dying due to their phone charger exploding and cables burning. This happened to me once (power cord started to burn for no reason) and since then I refuse to buy ‘noname’ electronics, although I realize that brands also outsource their manufacturing to China, I do hope that the higher price does allow for better quality.


    Last time i flew through CAN all power banks had to be inspected by security and if they did not have the relevant safety approvals such as UL, CE etc and were above a certain power output then they could not be taken on board and were disposed of. Not sure if they still have that system in place. at HKG they now do not allow Li battery powered cigarette lighters through security yet bizarrely sell them at duty free.
    Whilst I do not manufacture batteries I am in the EMS industry and particularly in China everywhere I go there is a huge amount of fake unsafe branded products. Huit-Six makes a point about outsourcing, we produce for many large OEM manufacturers however I can state that the higher prices do not mean better quality, it’s all down the OEM monitoring the supply chain which often they do not, leave it to supplier self-policing so the temptation for material substation by the CM is too much to resist. We have bid on contracts that when the result is announced we see the bid price 20% is lower than material cost so it’s clear that the subcon is going to quality drift after a few months to get margin, for example flame retardant plastic is average 3 x non-FR so the profit potential is huge. That’s the difference between your house burning down or just a nasty mess and smoke when your plug in charger decides to fail. It does not matter if you explain this to the final customer often as it’s only the price they are interested in. We had to help a very well-known brand out of a hole once when their supplier got caught doing this, we got business, that supplier got hit with huge damages charges….next year the business went to someone else who from the price was clearly going to do the same. One day I will write a book on it…when I am out of the industry!

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