The ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organisation) Council has issued a press release on the 22nd of February announcing that as of April 1st this year cargo shipments of lithium-ion batteries are no longer allowed on passengers flights.
When these batteries are packed closely together and/or damaged, they can overheat and explode. The ICAO investigated in laboratory situations and it appears that modern aircrafts are not resistant to the consequences of these possible explosions, so the new regulation is considered a safety measure.
“This interim prohibition will continue to be in force as separate work continues through ICAO on a new lithium battery packaging performance standard, currently expected by 2018.”
These batteries are used in most mobile phones, tablets, laptops and even some photo cameras and electric toothbrushes.
Although the measure is only valid for bulk shipments of lithium batteries on passenger flights, it appears that many airline companies have transposed it into the regulations for hold luggage for passengers as well and are now asking you to remove the batteries from appliances as mentioned above, from suitcases that will be transported as cargo in the hold of the airplane and carry them as hand luggage instead.