Due to the risk of fire, all lithium-ion batteries can no longer be shipped as cargo on passenger planes.
That’s according to a new ban enacted by the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization, which takes effect in April 2016.
The batteries, used in cellphones, laptops and other mobile devices, have been blamed for several aircraft fires. These batteries have been banned by most U.S. airlines as cargo on passenger flights, but there are still millions of passengers that still fly in and out of the U.S. every year aboard foreign airlines carrying them as cargo.
The ban, which was announced Monday, applies to bulk shipments in cargo holds and doesn’t include the batteries inside gadgets that passengers travel with.
Although the U.N. agency is calling its directive a ban, it doesn’t have any authority to enforce it. Instead, that will be up to aviation regulators in each country.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has warned airlines that fires from lithium batteries have the potential to take down airliners because they are so difficult for on-board fire extinguishers to put out.
At least two deadly cargo jet crashes have been blamed on fires caused by these batteries. A Boeing 747 crashed in Dubai killing two crew members in 2010. In 2011, an Asiana Airlines 747 crashed off South Korea, also killing two crew members.