Qantas and Virgin ban Macbook Pros from checked-in luggage

Until further notice, all passengers are requested to bring their devices onto flights as carry-on luggage.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Qantas and Virgin Australia have confirmed all 15-inch Apple Macbooks Pros have been banned from checked-in luggage and must remain switched off during flights indefinitely.

"Until further notice, all 15-inch Apple MacBook Pros must be carried in cabin baggage and switched off for flight following a recall notice issued by Apple," a Qantas spokesperson told ZDNet.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson has also requested for all passengers to take their Apple Macbooks as carry-on luggage as a "safety precaution".

"The safety of our guests and crew is always our highest priority," the spokesperson said.

According to Virgin Australia, the ban follows the worldwide recall of 2015 15-inch Apple Macbooks.

"In a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk," Apple said in a support note in June.

"Affected units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and product eligibility is determined by the product serial number."

See also: Now Google Assistant will warn you if your flight is going to be delayed (TechRepublic)  

The decision by the two airlines comes as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also put a ban on the Macbook model, in fear the lithium battery could overheat and ignite inside an aircraft.

Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways have also banned the device from being brought on-board flights or in checked-in baggage.

The decision to ban the devices for checked-in luggage is similar to when Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones were prohibited to be used during flights.

Virgin Australia creates a new tech officer role

In other airline news, Virgin Australia has created a new role, dubbed the chief strategy and technology officer, with the recruitment process to fill it already underway.

It comes at a time when the company also announced that it would simplify its organisational structure to "drive greater business integration, customer focus, and reduce costs".

Virgin reported its group statutory loss after tax sat at AU$315 million for the 2019 financial year.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for Virgin Domestic, Virgin International, and Tiger were all down,  coming in at AU$133 million, a loss of $75.6 million, and a loss of AU$45 million respectively.

The group's CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah said the results were disappointing and underscored the need for change.

"There is no doubt that we are operating in a tough economic climate with high fuel, a low Australian dollar, and subdued trading conditions. However, today's results show that we must improve our financial performance," he said.

"While we have continued to grow revenue and have a strong loyal customer base, we need to make changes to our costs to ensure we see financial benefit from the growth in our business.

"Today, we have announced a number of changes to help drive business improvement. This includes a restructure of our leadership team to take in group-wide accountability across all brands, a reduction of 750 roles from our workforce, a review of all supplier contracts and agreements, and a fleet and network review which will see a tight focus on capacity management going forward."

On the plus side, group total revenue increased by 7.6% to AU$5.8 billion for FY19. 

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