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Transport of Lithium Batteries by Air

The transporting of lithium batteries on airplanes poses a significant hazard to the passengers and crew so ICAO and IATA imposes certain restrictions on the carrying of lithium batteries on airplanes.

Lithiumm Batteries are classified as category 9 dangerous goods, there are two types of lithium batteries: lithium ion batteries (UN3480) and lithium metal batteries (UN3090). One of the easiest ways to differentiate between the two types of batteries is that lithium ion batteries are rechargeable while lithium metal batteries are non-rechargeable. Lithium batteries offered for transportation by air are classified into the following types according to the United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods.

Lithium Ion Batteries (rechargeable)
Configuration UN number Packing Instruction Section Watt-hour rating Restriction Labels  
Lithium Ion Batteries UN3480 PI965 1A >20Wh per cell
>100Wh per battery
Cargo aircraft only Class 9 Cargo Aircraft Only  
Lithium Ion Batteries UN3480 PI965 1B = or <20Wh per cell
= or <100Wh per battery
Cargo aircraft only Class 9 Cargo Aircraft Only Lithium battery label  
Lithium Ion Batteries UN3480 PI965 II >2.7 but <20Wh per cell
>2.7 but <100Wh per battery
Cargo aircraft only Cargo Aircraft Only Lithium battery label  
Lithium Ion Batteries packed with equipment UN3481 PI966 I >20Wh per cell
>100Wh per battery
  Class 9  
Lithium Ion Batteries packed with equipment UN3481 PI966 II <100Wh per battery   Lithium battery label  
Lithium Ion Batteries contained or installed in equipment UN3481 PI967 I >20Wh per cell
>100Wh per battery
  Class 9  
Lithium Ion Batteries contained or installed in equipment UN3481 PI967 II <100Wh per battery   Lithium battery label  

 

Lithium Metal Batteries (non-rechargeable)
Configuration UN number Packing Instruction Section Watt-hour rating Restriction Labels  
Lithium Ion Batteries UN3090 PI968 1A >1g of lithium per cell
>2g of lithium per battery
Cargo aircraft only Class 9 Cargo Aircraft Only  
Lithium Ion Batteries UN3090 PI968 1B = or <1g of lithium per cell
= or <2g of lithium per battery
Cargo aircraft only Class 9 Cargo Aircraft Only Lithium battery label  
Lithium Ion Batteries UN3090 PI965 II >.3 but <1g of lithium per cell
>.3 but <2g of lithium per battery
Cargo aircraft only Cargo Aircraft Only Lithium battery label  
Lithium Ion Batteries packed with equipment UN3091 PI969 I >1g of lithium per cell
>2g of lithium per battery
  Class 9  
Lithium Ion Batteries packed with equipment UN3091 PI969 II = or <1g of lithium per cell
= or <2g of lithium per battery
  Lithium battery label  
Lithium Ion Batteries contained or installed in equipment UN3091 PI970 I >1g of lithium per cell
>2g of lithium per battery
  Class 9  
Lithium Ion Batteries contained or installed in equipment UN3091 PI970 II = or <1g of lithium per cell
= or <2g of lithium per battery
  Lithium battery label  

 

Latest update from IATA - effective 1Januaryl 2017

UN 3480, PI 965, Section IA and IB
Lithium ion cells and batteries must be offered for transport at a state of charge (SoC) not exceeding 30% of their rated design capacity.
These batteries are forbidden for carriage on passenger aircraft
UN 3480, PI 965, Section II
Lithium ion cells and batteries must be offered for transport at a state of charge (SoC) not exceeding 30% of their rated design capacity
Batteries prepared in accordance with Section II of PI 965 are forbidden for carriage on passenger aircraft.
Shippers cannot offer for transport more than one (1) package prepared according to Section II in any single consignment.
UN 3090, PI 968, Section II.
Shippers cannot offer for transport more than one (1) package prepared according to Section II in any single consignment.
Section II of PI 965 and PI 968
Packages prepared according to Section II of PI 965 and PI 968 must be separated from other cargo and must not be loaded into a unit load device (ULD) before being offered to the operator.
Click here to download the latest update from IATA.

 

Links to websites containing information about transportation of lithium batteries by air

Lithium Battery Shipping Guidelines (LBSG) - 2017 Edition (price US$199) 

Latest Information about transportation of Lithium Batteries by air (IATA)

2017 IATA Lithium Battery Guidance Document (Revised 15 December 2016)

Significant Changes and Amendments to the Dangerous Goods Regulations 58th edition (2017) 

IATA Small Vehicles Powered by Lithium Batteries – Cargo Provisions(New)

HKCAD Safe Transport of Lithium Batteries by Air

Carrier Liaison Group Lithium Batteries Best Practice - 014

Carrier Liaison Group Lithium BatteriesQuick Reference Guide

 

 

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