Lithium-ion batteries can no longer be shipped as cargo on passenger planes and they must be shipped in a reduced state of charge on cargo-only planes, according to a Department of Transportation rule issued this week.
The U.S. DOT's Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued the rule February 27 in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The rule is aimed at reducing the risk of fire caused by overheating batteries. Since March 1991, the FAA says it has recorded at least 241 incidents of lithium batteries overheating and emitting smoke on flights departing to and from airports across the country.
Essentially, the rule prohibits companies or passengers from shipping batteries as cargo on passenger flights, but still allows passengers to bring electronic devices onboard. It also requires that batteries be shipped at no more than a 30 percent state of charge aboard cargo-only flights.