The current regulations for the international air transport of lithium batteries have changed. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council has revised the regulations for standalone lithium batteries. The new rules are mandatory since April 1, 2016.

Here is a summary of the main rules:

Passenger aircraft

Standalone lithium ion cells or batteries are no longer permitted on passenger aircraft. This restriction does not apply to cells or batteries that come packed with equipment or installed are in equipment

State of charge (SoC) requirements

Standalone lithium ion cells and batteries must be presented for carriage in a state of charge (SoC) of no more than 30% of their rated design capacity. Cells and / or batteries in a state of charge (SoC) higher than 30% of their rated design capacity can only be forwarded with the permission of the state of origin and the state of the air carrier.

Number of packages

Per consignment, not more than one package containing standalone lithium ion cells or batteries may be offered for transport


Not more than one package shall be placed in an overpack. If the package is placed in an outer packaging in accordance with the applicable packing instruction, then the lithium battery handling label and the "Cargo Aircraft Only" label shall either remain visible or affixed on the outside of the overpack. The overpack shall be marked with the word "OVERPACK"


Packages prepared according to Section II of PI 965 and PI 968 must be offered to the operator separately from other cargo and must not be loaded into a unit load device (ULD) before being offered to the operator


Please note that additional restrictions may apply dependent on the airline, route or destination of the lithium cells and batteries.

A full update on the new rules for the transport of lithium batteries by air can be found on the website of the International Air Transport Association (IATA): IATAs Lithium Battery Update.

Please contact your local airfreight specialist at Kuehne + Nagel if you have any question on this topic.