The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration have announced a new Interim Final Rule banning the transportation of lithium-ion batteries in passenger aircraft cargo. As well, the new rule requires lithium-ion batteries transported on cargo planes to have no more than a 30% charge.
The new rules were revealed by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao on Wednesday. The regulation is intended to help protect passenger and cargo aircraft from potentially catastrophic fires that may result from faulty lithium-ion batteries, which are prone to catching on fire and exploding when they overheat. Below is an older video shared by the FAA showcasing what can happen when a lithium-ion battery fault.
Travelers flying in passenger aircraft retain the option of packing lithium-ion batteries in their carry-on luggage. This includes devices with non-removable batteries, such as phones and laptops, as well as standalone batteries, including power banks and spare cameras batteries.
The Interim Final Rule follows the FAA’s 2017 proposal for a global ban on lithium-ion batteries in checked airline luggage. The recommendation was made based on tests conducted by the FAA, which found that fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in a plane’s cargo hold could potentially result in ‘the loss of an aircraft.’
The full Interim Final Rule can be read here [PDF].