SAA Bans Use of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phones in Its Flights

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Chinedu Eze

South Africa Airways (SAA) has joined a number of international carriers to ban the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Mobile Phones onboard its flights. The decision, according to the airline was based on safety considerations in the interests of passengers, crew and property. It said that the decision would become effective on all SAA flights from all stations globally from Wednesday, 19 October, 2016.

This means, the Galaxy Note 7 device is prohibited completely and may not be carried by travellers on their persons, in carry-on baggage, in checked in baggage or as cargo.

“We initially placed a restriction on the use of the device where we prohibited the charging of this specific model on board our aircraft. However, the recall of the device by the manufacturer based on safety considerations and the announcements made by regulatory authorities in some key markets we fly to, have left us with no option but to comply,” said SAA Spokesperson Tlali Tlali.

Subsequent to the announcement by the manufacture to recall the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 regulators in various jurisdiction and countries have announced a ban on the device in respect of air transportation. The announcement by the regulators obligates SAA as an airline to implement and comply with such a ban.

Further SAA is enjoined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) general provisions on safety to take steps to ensure safety of its operations as and when goods and/or products have not met safety requirements. IATA’s position is stated as follows: “Lithium batteries that have been recalled by the manufacturer for safety reasons must not be shipped by air”. The Galaxy Note 7 is powered by lithium batteries and has since been recalled by the manufacturer.

“In the interests of standardising and maintaining operational safety and compliance with regulatory requirements it has become necessary to prohibit this specific model on board our aircraft. We are aware that Samsung remains one of the most popular brands worldwide and the decision is not an outright ban of all Samsung mobile devices – it is limited to Galaxy Note 7 only,” added Tlali.

SAA apologises to all its customers for the inconvenience this decision may lead to. The airline had to align in order to maintain the safety of its operations and to mitigate risk associated with non-compliance.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had earlier banned the use of the phone on Nigerian airlines.