Aviation: National airline Drukair, private airline Tashi Air, and the Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services have banned the use of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 mobile phone on all flights.

This follows a worldwide recall of the phone by Samsung after a spate of incidents involving the device’s battery exploding and causing fires.

The Bhutan Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) issued a notification to the airlines to restrict the use of the mobile phone.

As a result, passengers are being asked if they own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 prior to boarding and to switch it off if they do. Passengers are also asked not to carry the phone in checked-in baggage. Charging the phone on board, even if it is switched off, is not being permitted.

BCAA director, Wangdi Gyaltshen said that the restriction is based on media reports emerging from abroad. He said that BCAA introduced the restriction as a precautionary measure. He added that it is a temporary measure until the issue is sorted out.

On whether the phone can still pose a risk switched off, he said that as per reports, as long as the battery is not active it is not dangerous.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has not yet beeen made available by its official distributor, Tashi Cell, in Bhutan yet.

As per the distributor, there have been no reports of any Note 7s, exploding in the country so far.

Gyalsten K Dorji