Amazon accused of shipping batteries than can make planes crash if they catch fire

Jeff Bezos MadGetty / David RyderAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has accused Amazon of breaking the law by transporting products like batteries, car screen wash, and aerosols on planes.

The Financial Times reports that Amazon denies any wrongdoing, and the company’s legal representatives have entered not guilty pleas to 11 counts related to transporting potentially dangerous goods on aircrafts.

UK aviation rules prevent companies from shipping items that they know could be unsafe.

The batteries mentioned in the legal case are lithium ion batteries, which are actually pretty common. They’re used to power things like laptops and mobile phones. But if a lithium ion battery overheats it can be dangerous. Here’s the FT:

However, their main drawback is the risk of overheating — they can catch fire and once alight they can burn out of control because of the way they are made.

There have been several cases in the past where batteries have caught fire including in Sony and Dell laptops and on aircraft.

In the last five years, two cargo aircraft, carrying large shipments of lithium ion batteries, have crashed after onboard fires — a UPS freighter in Dubai in 2010 and an Asiana Airlines freighter in 2011.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner was initially grounded over battery fire issues.

Amazon provided the following statement to The Financial Times about the indictment: “The safety of the public, our customers, employees and partners is an absolute priority. We are confident in our safety programmes and are continually reviewing and improving them.”

Business Insider contacted Amazon for comment on this story and will update if we hear back.

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