After an airport fire possibly caused by lithium ion batteries, Hong Kong Air Cargo Carrier bans the VIVO brand of smartphones.

On April 10, 2021, a pallet awaiting shipment at Hong Kong airport (HKG) caught fire. It was extinguished approximately 40 minutes later. There were no casualties, but adjacent pallets were severely damaged.

Reportedly, the pallet was loaded with VIVO Y20 model smartphones. According to local media, lithium ion batteries are the most likely cause of the fire, although the real reason for the combustion is yet to be determined.

The pallet was supposed to be shipped to Bangkok via Hong Kong Air Cargo Carrier just an hour later. 

On April 11, 2021, the carrier distributed an internal memo announcing an embargo on all VIVO mobile phones, as well as all cargo from CargoLink Logistics HK and CargoLink Logistics HK, with “immediate effect” due “until further notice”, according to ET Mobile.

Lithium ion batteries are known to sometimes combust due to damage, high temperature, or improper handling. In 2016, ICAO banned transportation of such batteries as cargo on passenger flights, a move followed by similar bans from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a number of airlines.

Such bans were prompted by scores of fires aboard aircraft, started by combusting lithium ion batteries. According to the FAA, in 2021 alone, six minor incidents were linked to combusting batteries, mostly used in consumer electronics carried by passengers.