An international decision will temporarily ban the cargo shipment of rechargeable lithium ion batteries on passenger planes due to the risk of fire – however, travellers will not have to worry about the batteries installed in their personal electronic devices.
The United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization made the decision this week to stop allowing the shipment of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which are used in cell phones, laptops, cameras and more, due to the fear that the batteries can overheat and cause fires or explosions on airplanes.
The ban will begin on 1 April and will last until sometime in 2018, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The ban was endorsed by the US Federal Aviation Administration, which says it has done tests that show one battery can cause a chain reaction that can result in an explosion if batteries are packed together on planes, reports NBC News.
The issue of lithium-ion batteries and airplanes was widely discussed in December, when most major airlines banned individual travellers from bringing hover boards on board. The two-wheeled motorized boards were a popular Christmas gift, but there were many reports of the hover boards catching fire, apparently due to lithium batteries they contain.
While the aviation authority’s decision will impact passenger airlines that carry commercial cargo, it doesn’t impact individuals with electronic devices with the batteries already in them.
The authority had already banned lithium-metal batteries that are not rechargeable from cargo holds due to a greater fire risk from those batteries.