Qatar Airways Cargo is the first cargo carrier to adopt Safran Cabin’s new fire-resistant container (FRC) solution, having taken delivery of an initial batch of containers on September 29, in Doha, Qatar.
Over the next five years, the cargo airline will replace its entire fleet of more than 10,000 ULDs (Unit Load Devices) with this unique container design, aiming to exchange 70% of the units during 2022. Qatar Airways Cargo’s decision to invest in Safran Cabin’s newly developed FRCs stems from the airline’s vested interest in preventing safety issues related to the increasing risk posed by lithium battery shipments, a concern that Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways, recently also raised in a key note presentation to the air cargo industry at IATA’s World Cargo Symposium in Dublin, Ireland.
“As a leading cargo airline, we put the safety of our passengers and employees first. Due to the increased transport of devices with lithium-ion batteries in Unit Load Devices (ULDs), we were looking for a solution that prevents incidents in containers used for the handling and storage of baggage, as well as the transportation of cargo goods. Thorough testing has validated the absolute fire resistance of Safran Cabin’s new FRC containers, and we are very pleased to roll out this solution in our belly-hold fleet within such a short period of time,” he announced.
It is precisely these rising concerns amongst airlines about the safe transportation of lithium-ion batteries and related goods such as smartphones, that prompted Safran Cabin to extend its portfolio with a Class-D Fire Resistant Container, complementing its existing solutions against Class-A fires (ordinary combustibles, such as paper and cardboard). Safran Cabin’s newly developed FRCs are designed to resist a lithium-based fire for six hours, and are equipped with an innovative SEN (Secure, Ergonomic, and Non-Velcro) door made of high-impact-resistant materials and without the use of Velcro, making the container easy to maintain and optimising the cost of ownership.