FAA bans some Apple laptops from flights over fire risk

FAA bans some Apple laptops from flights over fire risk
© Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Tuesday it is banning certain MacBook Pro laptops from flights after Apple recently said that batteries in select units posed fire risks.

The FAA said in a statement to The Hill it was “aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops” and that it had informed major U.S. airlines of the recall.

ADVERTISEMENT

The agency went on to remind airlines to follow 2016 safety instructions for products containing recalled batteries, which would mean that the affected laptops should not be taken on airplanes as cargo or in carry-on baggage.

The move echoes a similar warning from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency earlier this month to regional airlines about the MacBook models, saying they should follow 2017 rules mandating devices with recalled lithium-ion batteries to be turned off and not used during flights.

The products in question are some 15-inch MacBook Pros sold between September 2015 and February 2017. Apple said in June it had “determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk.”

Four airlines with operations managed by Total Cargo Expertise (TCE) implemented its ban on the laptops this week according to an internal notice obtained by Bloomberg

“Please note that the 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro laptop, sold between mid-2015 to February-2017 is prohibited on board any of our mandate carriers,” a TCE operations coordinator wrote to employees. 

The Apple laptop is not the first product to be banned from flights. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phones were barred from airlines in 2016 after several incidents emerged in which its battery exploded while in people’s pockets.

FAA guidelines forbid bringing recalled batteries on flights unless they’ve been replaced or stored in special packing that prevents fires.