In fact, the Air Line Pilots Association has gone so far as to call for a ban on the shipment of all lithium ion batteries in both passenger and cargo planes. That doesn't mean the airplanes themselves cannot use the batteries, it means the units themselves may not even be allowed on board. The problem stems from a series of incidents where lithium ion batteries either caught fire, bellowed smoke, showered sparks or burned passengers.
Green Car Advisor notes that the FAA has recorded six fires on board passenger and cargo jets linked to lithium-based batteries since March of last year. While that's a very small number considering how many flights have taken place in that time frame, it may be significant enough to pose a safety threat. It seems distinctly possible that legislation will be drafted in the near future regulating the use or shipment of lithium ion batteries on airplanes.
[Source: Green Car Advisor | Photo: lrargerich CC 2.0]