There are many arguments to be made against or in favor of allowing lithium-ion battery cargo on passenger planes which is really one of the reasons a consensus is yet to be formed on this issue. A United Nations panel is suggesting a total ban on cargo shipments of lithium-ion batteries on passenger planes. The UN has already rejected similar restrictions in the past but according to a new report, it’s open to considering them now.
In March last year a coalition representing some of the biggest airplane makers in the world submitted a paper to UN’s International Civilian Aviation Organization (ICAO) saying that shipments of lithium-ion batteries pose “an unacceptable risk,” the United States Federal Aviation Administration shares those concerns, pointing out that just one defective or damaged battery can cause the entire shipment to catch fire and potentially cause explosions that may overwhelm an aircraft’s internal firefighting measures.
It’s no surprise that some airlines have already started banning shipments of particular products, like hoverboards, which are powered by lithium-ion batteries. They’re considered to be a fire hazard as it is and airlines don’t want that cargo in a plane filled with hundreds of people.
Even if the restrictions are enforced it merits mentioning here that they won’t apply to lithium-ion battery shipments by cargo planes or devices with lithium-ion batteries that passengers bring with them as carry-on luggage. The possibility for the restrictions to be lifted is also left open if suitable packaging can be developed that eliminates or reduces the risk associated with shipping lithium-ion batteries by air.