Smoke spiralling from the suitcase at  Boston Logan International Airport Smoke spiralling from the suitcase at Boston Logan International Airport

Smoke seeping from a suitcase caused a major scare at an airport in the USA amid fears it could contain explosives.

The full-sized suitcase triggered the alert at Boston Logan International Airport which led to part of it being evacuated.

The Springfield News Sun website reports that the plastic suitcase was spotted with smoke coming from it in the checked baggage screening room.

The area had to be evacuated for nearly an hour to allow police along with fire and rescue teams to check the suitcase for explosives. It was later revealed that the smoke was triggered by a lithium battery inside an e-cigarette.

The suitcase belonged to a passenger who was flying to Kansas City. He was quickly contacted by authorities and his flight was delayed until the situation was cleared.

It was fortunate the suitcase was not already on board the plane as fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in aircraft holds are notoriously difficult to bring under control by on board fire suppression systems.

Most airlines now insist that passengers carry their personal electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops into the passenger cabin with them.

This means that if there is a problem with a lithium-ion battery catching fire it can be dealt with by trained cabin crew.

One way is to use an AvSax fire containment bag which can deal with fires in personal electronic devices and are now carried on planes operated by 65 airline companies across the world – including some of the biggest and best-known.

AvSax  – which won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise this year - has been used 28 times to deal with emergencies since the start of 2017.