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US ban lithium-ion batteries on passenger planes


It is now forbidden for airlines to carry batteries and lithium-ion cells as cargo on board passenger aircraft.

Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The US government on Wednesday issued new rules banning airlines from carrying lithium-ion batteries and cells as cargo on board passenger planes.

The new rules of the Transportation Department come after the Congress last year ordered it to adopt the new rules. The new restriction does not apply to passengers or crew members bringing electronic devices on board an aircraft.

"This rule will enhance passenger safety by addressing the unique challenges posed by lithium batteries in the transportation sector," US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said in a statement.

Over the past two years, the use of lithium-ion batteries has been associated with fires and smoke-spewing smoke in a large number of products, including Samsung's canceled product. Galaxy Note 7, hoverboards and Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

However, the rules should have little immediate effect. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a warning about batteries in 2016, urging airlines to consider the risks associated with transporting lithium batteries as cargo, including "the potential risk of catastrophic loss of the hull". The alert covered the batteries carried as components and not those already inside the devices such as laptops, tablets, phones or hoverboards.

The Administration of Pipeline Safety and Hazardous Materials Department of Transportation, which issued the new rules, noted that three aircraft accidents, including two fatal accidents, were related to lithium-ion batteries transported while the cargoes were firing.

The new rules allow for the transport of lithium-ion batteries and batteries in cargo aircraft at a state of charge not exceeding 30%, when they are packed in equipment or contained in equipment. The agency also announced that it would allow up to two lithium-ion batteries for use in medical devices on board passenger aircraft at a charging rate of more than 30% when the destination of the batteries is not served by daily cargo flights.

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