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US bans lithium batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft

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By Nick Flaherty


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), issued the Interim Final Rule (IFR) to enhance air safety by revising the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) for lithium ion cells or batteries transported by aircraft.

“This rule will strengthen safety for the traveling public by addressing the unique challenges lithium batteries pose in transportation,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

This IFR prohibits the transport of lithium ion cells or batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft.  In addition, the IFR requires lithium ion cells and batteries to be shipped at not more than a 30 percent state of charge aboard cargo-only aircraft. 

“PHMSA is enhancing passenger safety by permitting personal electronic devices onboard aircraft while ensuring cargo shipments of batteries are transported separately,” said PHMSA Administrator Howard “Skip” Elliott.  

THe agencies are taking comments from the industry at www.phmsa.dot.gov but this confirms rules that have been in place for the last year.  Comments can be submitted to the IFR under Docket Number: PHMSA‑2016‑0014 (HM‑224I) at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov

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