Boeing requests worldwide checks of Honeywell beacons


Boeing Co asked airlines on Sunday to inspect aircraft worldwide to gather data on Honeywell International Inc emergency beacons that have come under scrutiny following a fire on a parked 787 Dreamliner two weeks ago.

Up to 1,200 aircraft from its smallest to largest models have been fitted with the devices, but Boeing is asking that airlines inspect as many as possible and report back within 10 days to help regulators decide what if any action to take.

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"Boeing is asking specific operators of 717, Next-Generation 737, 747-400, 767 and 777s to inspect aircraft with the Honeywell fixed emergency locator transmitters," a Boeing spokesman said in an emailed statement late on Sunday.

"The purpose of these inspections is to gather data to support potential rule-making by regulators," he added.

The move is the latest response to a fire which caused serious damage on a parked 787 Dreamliner owned by Ethiopian Airlines at London's Heathrow airport on July 12.

UK accident investigators traced the fire to the area housing one of the units and recommended worldwide inspections of all lithium battery-powered emergency locator transmitters.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday instructed airlines to remove or inspect Honeywell fixed emergency beacons in the model which caught fire, the 787, but has not so far widened its mandatory checks to other models.

The beacons are designed to help rescue workers locate aircraft in the event of a crash.

They are installed on approximately 20 types of aircraft, including many Boeing and Airbus passenger jets and several types of business aircraft.

The fire on the Ethiopian-owned jet broke out after it had been parked for eight hours at a remote stand at London's Heathrow airport.

It caused extensive damage in the rear of the plane and scorched the top of the outer skin of the fuselage.

Japan's ANA Holdings Inc, which operates the world's biggest fleet of Dreamliners, said last week it found damage to the battery wiring on two 787 locator beacons during checks.

Damage was slight, but the beacons have been sent to Honeywell for inspection and the airline has informed regulators, ANA said.