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FAA prohibits cargo transportation of lithium-ion batteries on passenger flights

A US cargo flight on fire at the Philadelphia International Airport, 2006.
Photo: Joseph Kaczmarek (AP)

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation issued an interim rule Wednesday to regulate the transportation of lithium -Ionen prohibits cells and batteries as cargo in passenger vehicles and a cargo limit of 30 percent for air freight.

Lithium ion batteries have a non-negligible risk of explosion, which of course is a cause for caution presence in aircraft. The rule change on Wednesday was mandated by the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization for all member states in 2016, and TechCrunch notes that the updated provisions only enforce this directive in US aviation rules. It works on Galaxy Note 7 phones that are at risk of explosion The new rule does not focus on the passenger's ability to transport lithium-ion devices on flights. This would lead to massive air traffic disruptions as they are one of the most common battery types used in consumer electronics.

A screenshot of a 2014 Federal Aviation Administration test at its Atlantic City, New Jersey technical center.
Photo: FAA (AP)

It's easier for crew or passengers to cope with a burning battery outdoors in the cabin than a tightly packed or inaccessible cargo space, and some automated firefighting measures are on battery shocks less effective. The 2018 FAA Guidelines stated that passengers holding lithium-ion batteries in their luggage are prohibited. Instead, they were advised to remove and carry them in the passenger cabin:

Smoke and fire events involving lithium batteries can be mitigated by cabin crew Passengers in the aircraft cabin.

If hand luggage is inspected at the gate or on the side of the aircraft, lithium replacement batteries, electronic cigarettes and steam generators must be removed from the luggage and stored with the passenger in the aircraft cabin. Even in carry-on luggage, these items should be protected from damage, accidental activation and short circuit. The terminals on batteries that are not sealed in the manufacturer's packaging should be covered with tape to prevent short circuits.

As Engadget noted, most travelers will not be affected by the rules for cargo shipments, but the change may have an effect on waiting times for people placing remote orders for batteries as they have to wait for cargo flights. It can also cause lithium-ion devices to be sold online or at retail stores, and not pre-charged and ready for use.

[FAA via Engadget/TechCrunch]

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