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Hoverboards aren’t the only thing to worry about when heading to the airport anymore. The Federal Aviation Administration recently released a warning to airlines in the U.S. and overseas strongly encouraging them asses the safety risk of transporting lithium batteries as airplane cargo.
The FAA issued a Safety Alert for Operators to warn airlines “of the potential risk for a catastophic hull loss due to significant identified dangers associated with the transport of lithium batteries as cargo on either passenger or cargo aircraft.”
The FAA’s testing video below simulating a battery fire in the cargo hold of an airplane, demonstrates why this should be a major concern.
In a press release, the FAA explains that this test has proven the potential risk of a major aircraft loss resulting from a lithium battery explosion or fire.
Rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries found in many devices from cell phones to laptops are the ones in question. Those already installed inside electronics are not a threat–only ones being transported alone are considered dangerous.
According to FAA guidelines right now, lithium-ion batteries that are 160 watt hours or less are allowed to be packed in passengers’ carry-on luggage. Hoverboards contain ultra powerful batteries lasting up to 10 miles, which is why they are banned by most airlines. Backup lithium batteries are not allowed in checked luggage and most commercial airlines have set rules in place against carrying these batteries.
The FAA says this new warning is meant to “identify and mitigate risks for the airlines that still carry lithium batteries and to help those that don’t carry them from inadvertently accepting them for transport.” Better safe than sorry if you ask us!
Caroline Morse, SmarterTravel.com | March 8, 2016