Air Canada is taking the lead in trying to prevent fires on board caused by lithium ion batteries.

Other airlines have had problems where mobile phones have slipped into the crevices of seats and then been crushed when the seat has been moved. This can cause them to catch fire, sparked by the lithium ion batteries inside.

In a bid to prevent this happening to them Air Canada has launched an internal project to study ways to catch passengers' gadgets when they disappear into the airline's lie-flat business class seats.

This has been reported by online news website Runway Girl Network which has revealed that the airline is looking to add nets to the underlying structures of the seats.

Air Canada vice president Andrew Yiu said: "It's easy to say, 'get the flight attendants and they'll get it' but in most cases it's still very difficult to do so."

Some devices that slip into the seats cannot be retrieved until post-flight and, in the toughest cases, mechanics are needed to get them.

The risks associated with lithium ion batteries are well documented, particularly when it comes to fires.

Instructions on how to handle a dropped mobile phone or other small personal electronic device is now part of the pre-flight safety videos on a number of airlines.

One way to tackle these mobile phone fires and avoid the need for an emergency landing is to use AvSax fire containment bags which have just won the highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Innovation in the UK.

They are now on board several major airlines worldwide and were deployed 27 times in 2017.

If an electronic device starts to seriously overheat or emit smoke the cabin crew will pour at least two litres of water into an AvSax. It is imperative to first knock down the flames from the device using an on board halon fire extinguisher, then transfer the device into AvSax before it reignites. Additional water is then required. The water activates the polymer gel inside the bag causing it to expand around the device. Should the device keep on venting then the AvSax is tough enough to absorb the energy.

The AvSax cools the batteries in the device, reducing the likelihood of the battery igniting but if it does go into thermal runaway it is all contained within the bag.

Amazingly, the water is absorbed into the internal lining of the bag so the device is dry when it is removed.