Lithium Batteries Restricted to Cargo Aircraft Only Starting 1st January 2015

These days, the most preferred energy source is lithium battery. It has been widely used for a wide variety of consumer goods – mobile phones to kids’ toys to other electronic gadgets. Lithium batteries are popular, however, people are not aware that it is considered as dangerous goods and can imply a safety risk if not prepared in accordance with the transport regulations.

To help the lithium battery companies with their compliance requirements, a proposal was made by the DGP Working Group in a recent ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel meeting held in April 2014.

Lithium Metal Batteries Transportation Update

Lithium metal batteries carried and transported as cargo will be restricted to Cargo Aircraft Only starting 1 January 2015. The prohibition on the carriage of lithium metal batteries on passenger aircraft only applies to lithium metal batteries when shipped by themselves (PI 968 Section IA, IB & II). The prohibition does not apply to lithium metal batteries packed with equipment (PI 969) or contained in equipment (PI 970).

This proposal is yet to be reviewed by the Air Navigation Council and to be approved by the ICAO Council.

View the Lithium battery update for 2015 (pdf) for more information.

Guidance Information

IATA has made it easy for shippers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, airlines and passengers to comply with proper transportation of hazardous goods. They may download the Guidance Document (pdf) developed by IATA for complying with the 55th (2014) Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) that tackles the following:

  • Definitions, classification, exceptions, prohibitions
  • Passenger Provisions
  • Packaging regulations
  • FAQ’s and their answers

Also, the the 54th (2013) Edition of the Lithium Battery Guidance Document is currently available in German (pdf), French (pdf) and Chinese (pdf). The 55th Edition will be available in other languages in the following weeks.

For passenger provisions, please view the Passenger DG Corner.

Information on Dangerous Goods Shipment (Lithium Batteries)

The ICAO Technical Instructions standardizes air transportation of lithium batteries. They are classified by if the type of lithium – ion or metal. They are also classified according to equipment – contained in equipment, packed with equipment, or shipped separately from equipment.

In 2012, the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) decided to comprehensively deal with the risks connected with lithium batteries transportation. Read more about the Regulatory changes on the transport of Lithium batteries (pdf) that took effect in January 2013.

NEW UPDATE: Here is a complete guide to understanding the complete requirements related to the transport of lithium batteries, including packing instructions. Click to view the Lithium Battery Shipping Guidelines (LBSG).

Training is Important

Above all, the most important component in understanding the terms of the regulations is preparation. IATA made a comprehensive training course on Shipping Lithium Batteries by Air that covers all aspects of the identification, packing, marking and labelling, as well as the documentation requirements on lithium batteries transportation.

Lithium Battery Transportation Outreach and Awareness Products

IATA, the Dangerous Goods Board (DGB) and the Dangerous Goods Training Task Force (DGTTIF), has developed three new lithium battery outreach and awareness products which include the following:

  • Lithium Battery Shipping Guidelines (order)
  • Lithium battery awareness poster (view sample (jpg)) (order)
  • Lithium battery passenger pamphlet (view sample (jpg)).