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U.S. Air Regulators Ban MacBook Pros With Recalled Batteries From Flights

A MacBook laptop computer shown in 2016.
Marcio Jose Sanchez
A MacBook laptop computer shown in 2016.

The Federal Aviation Administration has banned certain MacBook Pro laptops on flights following an announcement by Apple Inc. that some use batteries that pose a fire or safety risk.

"The FAA is aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops. In early July, we alerted airlines about the recall, and we informed the public," the FAA said in an emailed statement.

"We issued reminders to continue to follow instructions about recalls outlined in the 2016 FAA Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 16011, and provided information provided to the public on FAA's Packsafe website: https://www.faa.gov/hazmat/packsafe/," it added.

Apple announced in June "a voluntary recall of a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units which contain a battery that may overheat and pose a safety risk."

The laptops were sold between September 2015 and February 2017 and can be identified by their product serial number, according to the company's notice.

Apple, in its announcement, said that "customer safety is always a top priority" and it would replace the affected batteries free of charge.

Some international carriers also have banned the MacBook Pros. Four airlines with cargo operations managed by Total Cargo Expertise — TUI Group Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Air Italy and Air Transat — this week barred the laptops from flying as cargo, according to Bloomberg.

It is not immediately known how many MacBook Pros will be affected by the ban. About 432,000 MacBook Pros with faulty batteries were sold in the U.S., according to a Canadian air safety notice cited by Bloomberg, while an additional 26,000 were sold in Canada.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
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