US Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration have announced new guidelines with regards to the transport of lithium ion batteries on airplanes. It is no longer allowed to store lithium ion cells or batteries as cargo on passenger flights. Moreover, companies will no longer be allowed to ship batteries with more than 30 percent charge on cargo-only aircraft.
This rule change was mandated by the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization back in 2016 for all member countries. These new regulations but the aforementioned departments are now codifying that ICAO directive in U.S. aviation rules.
The Federal Aviation Administration in particular called on the airline community in 2017 to reconsider allowing batteries on flights due to the fire risk. The administration conducted ten tests in which a fully-charged laptop was placed into a suitcase and various scenarios in which the battery could catch fire were tested. In one example, an aerosol can of dry shampoo was strapped to the laptop and it exploded within 40 seconds after the battery caught fire.
These new rules don’t particularly affect travelers. It’s still possible to take your power bank with you. However, those who purchase batteries online will be affected as they will no longer arrive with a full charge. This 30 percent limit has been imposed to minimize the risk of fire or explosion in flight which could have catastrophic implications for the flight.
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