The government of the United States of America just added a new challenge to receiving lithium-ion batteries. The Department of Transportation and the FAA have both issued an interim rule that bans the transport of lithium-ion batteries and cells as cargo aboard passenger flights. It is also demanding that the batteries aboard cargo aircraft carry no more than a 30 percent charge. Passengers will still be allowed to carry devices (including spare batteries) on their trips in most cases, however, companies will not be able to stuff a passel of battery packs into an airliner’s hold.
Elaine Chao, the Transportation Secretary of the United States, described this move as a “safety” measure that aims to address the “unique challenges” of carrying lithium-ion batteries. The FAA has been pushing the airlines to reconsider carrying batteries because of the potential fire risk, and theoretically, the ban reduces the chances that an incident will put the travelers in danger.
The cargo ban will mainly affect people who order batteries. Customers will likely still get their orders, however, they may have to wait for dedicated cargo flights. The battery charge requirement may also be another matter since it could mark an end to the days of receiving phones and other gadgets that already have near-full charges. People may probably need to top them up first.