The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned some 15-inch MacBook Pros
from US flights due to concerns over faulty lithium batteries.
Apple already issued a voluntary recall and replacement program
on these models on June 20, 2019 due to the battery’s potential to overheat and pose a safety risk. The recall only affects 15-inch MacBook Pro units sold between September 2015 and February 2017 that can be identified by the product serial number.
Federal officials alerted airlines of the recall and posted about it on social media in July. However, they say the issue did not garner the necessary attention at the time.
Aviation regulators in the European Union have already issued restrictions on the recalled MacBooks, prohibiting their use during EU flights.
Lithium Battery Hazards Are a Growing Concern
Lithium-ion batteries have become notorious over the last decade for their potential hazards. Most notably, Samsung recalled approximately 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7
smartphones in the fall of 2016, after 35 confirmed overheating incidents
that resulted in explosions and fires.
Similar recalls were issued on hoverboards
in 2017 and even police body cameras
Federal regulators are using every tool at their disposal to address the hazards posed by lithium batteries, especially in air transport—including civil penalties for noncompliant lithium battery shipments. When a Hong Kong technology company allegedly shipped 30 lithium-ion batteries undeclared
in 2017, FAA issued a $160,500
civil penalty the following year.
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