Qatar Airways Cargo replaces fleet with fire-resistant containers

Qatar Airways Cargo replaces fleet with fire-resistant containers

Qatar Airways Cargo is to replace its entire fleet of Unit Load Devices (ULD) with new Fire Resistant Containers (FRC) from Safran Cabin. The move underpins the airline’s commitment to taking the lead on safety issues as it looks to counter the risks involved of lithium battery shipments.

It expects that to replace its entire fleet – made up of more than 10,000 ULDs – will take up to five years, however it is aiming to replace 70% of the units by 2022.

Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways, said: “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 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.”

Qatar Airways took delivery of its first batch of containers at the end of September – making it the first cargo carrier to adopt the units.

According to Halleux the airline had suffered three near-misses with battery shipments in recent years, each relating to the mis-declaration of goods, meaning the risks were not picked up on.

Safron Cabin’s newly developed Fire Resistant Containers complement its existing portfolio of Class-A Fire Resistant Containers. They’ve been designed to resist a lithium-based fire for up to six hours. The doors are made of high impact resistant materials and avoid the use of Velcro.

Pascal Piveteau, Executive Vice President Cargo & Catering, Safran Cabin said: “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.”