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Drones in Domestic airlines are allowed now!

Drones in Check-in bags and batteries (upto 160Wh) in handbags are allowed!


Recently, the government relaxed regulations on drone usage. Now, the government is also looking to work out ways for people to carry drones on planes. 

New Delhi: You can now fly with your small to medium size drones to click vacation pictures with unmanned aerial systems throughout India, operated as per rules.
Drones (without battery) will mostly need to be in check-in bags and batteries (of up to 160 Wh) only in cabin bags.
For international trips, the rules of destination countries will apply. A senior aviation ministry official said passengers should inform airlines when they are going to travel with a drone.
While there are no major restrictions for carrying drones either as checked-in or carry-on baggage. it is because of individual airline policy and not a regulatory requirement. However, when drones are accepted as check-in baggage, batteries need to be removed and carried in carry-on baggage only,” said a senior aviation ministry official.
For spare batteries, there are no restrictions if they are of less than 100 Watt-hour (Wh). Maximum of two batteries if the Wh is more than 100 but less than 160 Wh with the approval of airlines. No spare batteries are allowed if Wh is more than 160“, the official added.
The classification of drone carriage comes at a time when airlines now routinely get queries from passengers about the same. An Indigo spokesperson said: ” As per the conditions of carriage drones can be carried in check-in luggage. However, batteries are not allowed in check-in. Passengers are asked to carry batteries in hand luggage. The limit is up to 160 Wh for the lithium battery”.
While the senior ministry official said it is advisable to carry nano Drones- the most common ones for personal use weighing up to 250 grams- in cabin bags, most big airlines don’t allow the same. Nano Drones have lithium-ion batteries. Due to potential fire risks, batteries are not allowed in check-in bags. Also, security will detect lithium during inline screening and will offload the bag.
A risk assessment was done for the carriage of big drones. Accordigly it was decided that drones with batteries of over 160 Wh must be carried as cargo. However, still, the risk is that in passenger baggage due to handling and movement, lithium can catch fire. Hence most airlines allow the same to travel in-cabin baggage as the crew is trained to handle any incident of fire or smoke in the cabin due to lithium.
So ideally, the Government official said, small drones with batteries attached be carried in the cabin bags; bigger drones in the cabin bags, and their lithium batteries also in a cabin with proper insulation and large drones with batteries over 160 Wh in cargo with proper smoke detection and fire suppression in place.
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