European safety regulator EASA has withdrawn a safety bulletin that focused on the risks of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 mobile phones, following their recall and deactivation.

In September 2016, EASA and the FAA warned of the risk of allowing Note 7 smartphone-use inflight because of Lithium battery-related fire fears.

Samsung issued a global recall and, by Feb. 2, it had received 94% of the devices in Europe and 96.5% worldwide. The electronics giant also issued a mandatory software update in December that blocked Note 7s from charging over 30%.

“On a more recent notification to EASA, on Jan. 30, 2017 the company confirmed that, as from the following day, they would release a new software update that would prevent the device from charging and would eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices. The agency has also noted that there are no recent reports of fire-related incidents or accidents involving these devices on board of the aircraft,” EASA said in a Feb. 9 safety information bulletin, which replaced previous advice issued on Oct. 13, 2016.

EASA has now replaced the SIB with more general, non-mandatory recommendations on the transport of damaged, defective or recalled lithium batteries. The new recommendations are:

  • Make information available to crews, passengers and staff processing passengers about any restrictions and limitations to carry on board an aircraft damaged, defective or recalled lithium batteries or devices;
  • If a damaged, defective or recalled battery or device is noticed to have been carried inadvertently on board an aircraft, require the passenger concerned to keep the battery or device turned off, protect it from accidental activation (also disabling any features that may turn it on), keep it on the person, and not charge it at any time;
  • Remind passengers of the need to immediately inform the cabin crew when a device is damaged, hot, produces smoke, is lost, or falls into the seat structure;
  • Ensure that staff responsible for cargo acceptance and processing is fully aware that damaged, recalled or potentially hazardous lithium batteries, including those contained in equipment and/or shipped with equipment, are forbidden to be transported by aircraft as cargo.

Victoria Moores