Qatar Airways Cargo is the first cargo carrier to adopt Safran Cabin’s new Fire Resistant Container (FRC) solution, having taken delivery of the initial batch of containers on 29th September in Doha, Qatar.
Over the next five years, the cargo airline will replace its entire fleet of more than 10,000 ULDs with this unique container design, aiming to exchange 70% of the units already during 2022. Qatar Airways Cargo’s decision to invest in Safran Cabin’s newly developed Fire Resistant Containers, 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 Fire Resistant Containers are designed to resist a lithium-based fire for 6 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.
Pascal Piveteau, EVP Cargo & Catering division from Safran Cabin stated: “We are delighted to bring this innovation to the market together with Qatar Airways Cargo as one of our key partners for pallets and container solutions for more than 15 years. The project started at the end of 2019, and was finished in record time to support Qatar Airways Cargo’s replacement plans. Together, we are contributing to the setup of new standards for a safer aviation environment. We are also honoured by the trust our esteemed customer has expressed in this major project, which constitutes one of the largest-ever airline ULD fleet replacements, especially in these challenging times.”