Saturday, 24 August, 2019

US air regulators ban some Apple laptops on flights

FAA Bans MacBook Pro Laptops With Recalled Batteries FAA issues flight ban on 2015 MacBook Pros with faulty batteries
Russell Knight | 14 August, 2019, 14:39

"The battery issue affects a limited number of 15" MacBook Pro units that are sold between September 2015 to February 2017.

The FAA said it alerted USA airlines in July to the battery recall affecting some Apple MacBook Pro laptops, ZDNet's sister site CNET reports.

Four airlines with cargo operations managed by Total Cargo Expertise - TUI Group Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Air Italy, and Air Transat - this week barred the laptops from flying as cargo, according to Bloomberg.

Potential battery fires force Apple to recall 2015 15-inch MacBook Pros Laptops labelled mid-2015 to be sent away for a fortnight.

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TUI Group told Bloomberg that it will begin making announcements about the prohibition on shipping the MacBook Pros as cargo before flights. It's unclear what efforts will, if any, be made at US airports. The FAA's 2016 alert to carriers warned of the risk of the "potential risk of catastrophic hull loss" due to transporting lithium batteries if they caught fire and exploded. Both European and USA regulators appear to have no issue with recalled laptops that have received safer parts. So unlike the infamous Samsung Galaxy Note fiasco in 2016, there's a fair chance that laboriously enforcing this directive for every MacBook that comes through a security checkpoint won't be at the top of the priorities list.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency issued a warning about these MacBook Pro models earlier this month, telling airlines in the region to follow 2017 rules that require devices with recalled lithium-ion batteries to be switched off and not used during flights. Nevertheless, this might come as a shock to travelers who haven't been able to get a free battery replacement just yet (affected models with new batteries are still allowed). But the fact is that it will be a pain to screen the affected units at the boarding gate - and that could affect millions of MacBook Pro users.

While there have been repeated incidents of phones, laptops and other devices overheating and catching fire in passenger compartments of planes, it hasn't ever caused a fire to spread.

Because of that same risk, the FAA is calling on the 2016 instructions it gave airlines.

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