The Samsung Note 7 cell phone and Li-ion battery have been banned from air flights to, from and within Vanuatu.

A notice from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu (CAAV), dated April 6, 2017 says: “CAAV notifies all members of the public that Samsung Note 7 phone and Li-ion battery are categorized as Dangerous Goods and are BANNED from air flights to, from and within Vanuatu.”

The decision follows similar actions by some major international carriers warning Samsung GALAXY NOTE 7 owners not to power on or recharge their devices during flights, following a number of spontaneous explosions as a result of the battery issues with the Samsung smartphone.

Mrs. Easuary Deamer, for the CEO of Unity Airlines, Tony Deamer, confirmed the local airline has received the notice of ban by the CAAV and she said the airline will put up a notice at their Bauerfield Airport office counter to notify their passengers of this important instruction.

An Air Vanuatu Manager confirmed the national airline started implementing the ban on the device and battery several months ago and last week the company reemphasized its implementation of the ban.

He said the ban on the Samsung Galazy  Note 7 applies to all Air Vanuatu flights on both domestic and international routes.

“All passengers who purchase an Air Vanuatu ticket, whether locally or overseas are informed of the ban to make sure they comply. In addition, we check all passengers’ check-in and carry-on luggage for the device to make sure we comply with the ban and the device is not carried on board our flights.”

Although airlines are adhering to the ban, it is important that retailers are also made aware of this ban on the device on flights for security concerns, as it is reported that some shops in Vanuatu are selling the device to tourists and also locals. One woman said she had to refund her relative’s money for the phone she purchased from Au Bon Marche Nambatu in Port Vila to take back with her to New Caledonia, but was told at Bauerfield Airport the device was not allowed on the Air Calin flight.

Asked when the CAAV order came into effect, Director Joseph Niel said they started confiscating the smartphone from passengers already last year.

The cutting-edge smartphones have also been banned from checked-in baggage, following a number of spontaneous explosions as a result of the battery issues, the US Federal Aviation Administration has claimed.

The FAA said it “strongly advises” passengers to follow its guidance “in light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices.”

Australian airlines Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia have already banned passengers from using or recharging the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 during flights over fire concerns.

A spokesperson for Samsung told Express.co.uk, “Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously.

“In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.

“However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.”

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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