WASHINGTON, D.C.: US officials Friday (Saturday in Manila) banned all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from airplanes, saying anyone attempting to travel with the recalled handsets may face fines and have the devices confiscated.
The South Korean electronics giant has recalled all Note 7 phones, including replacements, following reports of exploding batteries and fires, which have led to numerous injuries. Samsung has also stopped producing the flagship handset.
But it remained unclear how many consumers have continued using the phones despite the recall and warnings from safety officials to stop using them.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said an emergency order banning the devices would take effect at 1600 GMT Saturday.
Passengers will be barred from carrying the Note 7 on planes, in hand luggage or in checked baggage on domestic flights and international flights to or from the United States, the agency said.
“We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” Foxx said in a statement.
“We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”
The Consumer Product Safety Commission this week formalized the recall affecting 1.9 million handsets in the United States, including one million announced in a September 15 recall and an additional 900,000 replacements.
The agency said Samsung had received reports of at least 96 of the US handsets overheating, with 13 reports of burn injuries and 47 incidents of property damage.
Samsung has offered refunds or replacement devices, and is giving those customers who want to exchange the Note 7 for another Samsung device an extra $100 credit.
Samsung on Friday said the crisis over its exploding Note 7 smartphones would cost another $3 billion-plus in lost profit over the next two quarters, but hoped expanded sales of its other flagship handset would help cushion the impact.
The profit warning came two days after the South Korean electronics giant slashed its operating profit for the third quarter by $2.3 billion.
On top of the third-quarter loss, Samsung said the drop in sales arising from the decision to discontinue the Note 7 would continue to impact profit margins in October-March – Including the crucial holiday buying season.
It estimated an operating profit loss in the fourth quarter at around the “mid-2 trillion ($2.2 billion) won range” and 1.0 trillion won for the first quarter of 2017.
“Moving forward, Samsung Electronics plans to normalize its mobile business by expanding sales of flagship models such as the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge,” the company said in a statement.