SIA bans some MacBooks over safety concerns

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has banned a few models of Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops on all of its flights due to safety concerns over faulty batteries.

SIA said on Sunday that customers should refrain from bringing the affected models as carry-on items or in checked baggage until the battery has been verified as safe or replaced by the manufacturer.

The airline advised passengers to visit Apple's webpage relating to its MacBook Pro battery recall programme to get more information on whether their laptops are affected, as well as battery replacement options.

The affected laptop units were primarily sold between September 2015 and February 2017, and they can be identified by their product serial numbers, Apple said on its website.

SIA's move follows directives from the United States Federal Aviation Administration, which alerted airlines about Apple's recall of affected devices in June and banned them from flights.

Earlier this month, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency also issued a warning about the same MacBook Pro models, telling airlines in the region that devices with recalled lithium-ion batteries should be switched off on flights.

In June, Apple announced a voluntary recall of some of its older-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro laptops which contain batteries that may overheat and pose a safety risk. The recall came after consumers reported cases of minor burns and, in one case, smoke inhalation. There were also reports of minor damage to personal property.

 

In response to queries from The Straits Times, SIA said passengers will be asked to key in their laptops' serial numbers on the Apple website to confirm that their devices are safe to bring on board.

Besides SIA, Asian airlines that have banned the affected laptops include Thai Airways. Vietnam has also banned the affected models on all flights.

In 2016, airlines worldwide banned Samsung's Note 7 smartphone after multiple reports of the phone catching fire. Production of the phone halted altogether following problems even with replacement sets. In an incident, a replacement phone emitted smoke and caused a Southwest Airlines flight in Louisville in the US to be evacuated.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2019, with the headline 'SIA bans some MacBooks over safety concerns'. Print Edition | Subscribe