US DOT strengthens safety provisions for lithium batteries transported by aircraft

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), today issued an 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.