European Agency Requires Boeing 787 Beacon Check in Fire Probe

European Boeing Co. 787 operators must check the jets’ emergency locator transmitters made by Honeywell International Inc. as the region’s safety regulator followed its U.S. counterpart after a July 12 fire in London.

Airlines must “either remove or inspect the Honeywell ELT, and take corrective actions if necessary,” the European Aviation Safety Agency said today in an e-mailed statement. The plane’s minimum equipment list is being amended to operate for 90 days without beacon, the Cologne, Germany-based agency said.

The fire on an Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise 787 parked at London’s Heathrow airport was traced to a Honeywell transmitter powered by a lithium battery. The U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch on July 19 said the device should be deactivated as the probe into the cause of the blaze continues.

The EASA said that its directive “is an interim measure to prevent any unsafe condition” and that it “continues to monitor the situation closely.”

The requirement applies only to European carriers. The EASA, which typically adopts directives from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, had to issue its own version to reflect a difference in policy on beacons. The FAA ordered inspections of the 787 beacons yesterday.

ANA Holdings Inc. found damage to a beacon wire on one of its Dreamliners and has sent the device to Honeywell for inspection, Megumi Tezuka, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo-based airline, said today. ANA, the first Dreamliner operator, also found a dented wire on a portable beacon used on 787s, she said.

Thomson Airways, a Coventry, U.K.-based charter carrier, removed the Honeywell locators within hours of that nation’s investigation agency calling for their deactivation.

No Issues

LOT Polish Airlines SA, the first European airline to receive the jet, said it has made checks after the U.K. agency’s directive and found no issues. The Warsaw-based airline said in an e-mailed statement that it’s still seeking compensation from Chicago-based Boeing.

Norwegian Air Shuttle AS, which is based in Fornebu, Norway, and operates Dreamliners on lease from International Lease Finance Corp., couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Qatar Airways Ltd. has taken one of its Dreamliners out of service for a minor issue with the plane, Madonna Walsh, a spokeswoman for the Doha-based carrier, said today. She declined to elaborate.

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