Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is likely to put curbs on the use of the entire range of Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones on flights, a senior official said, after IndiGo reported an incident of "sparks and smoke" emitting from a Note 2 kept in the hand baggage of a passenger.
Friday's incident on a Singapore-Chennai flight operated by the no-frills airline is bad news for Samsung, which is hit by the worldwide recall of its newest model, Galaxy Note 7, following reports of the phone catching fire. Global aviation regulators, including India's DGCA as well as those in Canada and Australia, earlier this month announced restrictions on the use of the Note 7 in flights after the US Federal Aviation Administration warned about potential fire hazard.
"The (regulator's fresh) advisory may be similar to the Samsung Note 7 advisory, where carrying of the phones in a 'switch on' mode will not be allowed," said a senior DGCA official. "We have called Samsung to discuss the issue on Monday." The official didn't want to be named.
"We are aware of an incident involving one of our devices," Samsung said. "At Samsung, customer safety is our highest priority. We are in touch with relevant authorities to gather more information, and are looking into the matter," a spokesperson said.
After the Note 7 incidents, Samsung investigated the problem and found that the rechargeable batteries inside the phones were at fault. It has since worked on the fixes and started selling the rectified device in some markets. The new Note 7is expected to hit the Indian market around September 28-30, with the Korean company looking to bring it ahead of the local launch of Apple's iPhone 7 on October 7, ET had reported this week.
In a news release, Indi-Go said some passengers on its flight 6E-054 from Singapore noticed smoke and smell in the cabin and alerted the cabin crew. The crew noticed the smoke being emitted from a Samsung Note 2 kept in a baggage in the overhead bin, discharged the fire extinguisher and quickly transferred the device into a container filled with water in lavatory, it said.
The aircraft made a normal landing at the Chennai airport and passengers were deplaned as per the normal procedure. This equipment (Samsung mobile) will be further examined by the concerned departments. IndiGo has voluntarily informed the DGCA, the airline said.