October 23, 2021

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A growing number of airlines reject freighting Vivo mobile phones cargo

3 min read

Pallet fire at Hon Kong International Airport

Increasing numbers of airlines have rejected the shipment of Vivo mobile phones, following a recent fire in the pallet which occurred at a Hong Kong Airport.

The spontaneous ban is most likely to have a serious impact on Vivo phones which is ranked as the number five in global smartphone shipments.

Some of the airlines that publicly announced their rejection of Vivo mobile phones cargo were, Garuda, IAG Cargo, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa Cargo and Indian carriers, Spicejet, and Go Air. They had all told their customers the shipments were banned in the interim.

A media statement by Lufthansa Cargo said, “Following the reports of an incident at Hong Kong Airport, unrelated to our operations and pending investigations by the authorities, Lufthansa Cargo has followed the actions of the involved carriers and decided to ban all Vivo products containing lithium batteries (ion and metal) for direct or indirect carriage as airfreight on board any flights operated by Lufthansa Cargo and/or Lufthansa, Austrian or Brussels Airlines, as a precautionary temporary measure until further notice”.

IAG in its memo to customers declared that “with immediate effect and until further notice, IAG Cargo embargoes any type of Vivo shipment containing batteries from all APAC and Middle East origin stations to all destinations. This embargo applies to any form of shipment booked either directly or indirectly for uplift on IAG Cargo services.”

Cathay Pacific on its own announced that, while it had not flown any Vivo shipments before, it had now imposed an embargo and was liaising with industry bodies about the situation.

The followings are the reactions by the two very popular carriers in India. GoAir said, “all consignments from Vivo are on hold.”  In the same vein, Spicejet Cargo Chief, Sanjiv Gupta, while addressing aviation and airport content editors said not only were all Vivo mobiles and accessories banned but that “if any undeclared or mis-declared mobile shipment/accessories [are] found during screening, tendering dangerous goods, the agent will be blacklisted”.

Burnt lithium batteries

However, Vivo mobile in a media statement said: “We have paid high attention [to the fire] and immediately set up a special team to work closely with the local authorities to determine its cause.”

IATA Assistant Director, Cargo Safety & Standards, David Brennan, said he was “concerned about the fire on the ramp in Hong Kong. It represents a very serious incident that could have affected flight safety”.

David Brennan further said, “we understand the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HK CAD) has commenced an investigation to identify the cause of the fire and that the manufacturer of the phones has reached out to the HK CAD. We look forward to any information that the HK CAD will make available.”

He added that “IATA remains focused on the safe transport of dangerous goods by air, including the transport of lithium batteries. Until the investigation is completed, we believe it is premature to make assumptions or propose changes to the existing regulations for the transport of lithium batteries.”

Last year, Vivo ranked fifth in global smartphone shipments with a market share of 8.6%, thus suggesting its phones are on many aircraft around the world

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