Gaborone - Air Botswana has banned Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices from all flights 'with immediate effect and for an indefinite period' due to global concerns that the device was a flight safety risk.

In a statement, the airline said a spate of incidents involving battery explosions or fire outbreaks on some Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices constituted a threat to passenger and flight safety.

The airline said the phone used a battery cell that has a high risk of exploding or catching flames while it is in use. “The airline has been monitoring the situation closely following a spate of reported incidents involving the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device.

The problem has now escalated to levels which pose a serious threat to flight safety,” the airline said. “It has been reported that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices have a battery cell that has a risk of exploding or catching flames when in use, including even on the replaced Smart phones.”

Further, Air Botswana apologised for 'the inconvenience that may result from this decision' but urged travellers to co-operate in order to safeguard passenger and flight safety in its aircraft.

Since last month when the news of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery catching fire or exploding started circulating, major global airlines have banned the device due to its heightened flight safety risk.

The airline ban has widened following reports that some of Galaxy Note 7 devices which were recalled and replaced by the manufacturer, South Korean giant Samsung Electronics after the earlier scare in August, had exploded after the company reported it had rectified the battery problem.

The company has since stopped the production of the Galaxy Note 7 and recalled the device from all customers.

On Wednesday, Samsung said it had started setting up booths and kiosks at major airports in the US and Australia to help travellers who have not yet returned the recalled Galaxy Note 7 to swap it and avoid the possible confiscation of the device by airport security authorities or airlines.

Africa News Agency (ANA)