By Staff writer
Passengers using UAE national airlines told they cannot turn on or charge phones onboard after reports of device fires
The UAE's aviation regulator has banned the use of Samsung's Galaxy Note7 phones aboard flights operated by national airlines due to concerns over the phone’s batteries catching fire or even exploding.
Passengers are advised not to turn on or charge Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 phones onboard the aircraft and not to stow them in checked baggage, said Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director-general of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in a statement published by news agency WAM.
It said the announcement was prompted by recent concerns raised by Samsung about its new Galaxy Note7 devices, after customers reported incidents in which the batteries caught fire or exploded.
Samsung is replacing all Note 7 devices worldwide after 35 reported incidents in which a battery flaw led to fires or explosions, WAM added.
Emirates airline confirmed that it will advise its passengers to obey the new regulation.
"As advised by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Emirates Airline can confirm that with immediate effect it will advise customers not to turn on or charge their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones during flights or stow them in checked baggage due to concerns over the phone’s fire-prone batteries," a company spokesman said in a separate statement.
The Dubai-based carrier apologised for any inconvenience caused, adding that the safety of its customers and crew "is of utmost priority".
Last week, Samsung Gulf Electronics announced the availability of its exchange program for Galaxy Note7 owners in the UAE, following reports of the battery fault.
Samsung officially halted the sales of its recent smartphone and recalled millions of units after users began posting photos on social media claiming faulty batteries caused some of the handheld devices to explode.
Samsung Gulf Electronics said in a statement that while there has "been only a small number of reported incidents", it is taking great care to provide customers with the support they need through the Galaxy Note7 exchange program.