Boeing urges worldwide aircraft inspections after London jet fire
UK investigation recommends scrutiny of models with emergency locator beacon
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, caught fire at Heathrow airport earlier this month. Boeing has asked airlines to inspect aircraft worldwide to gather data on Honeywell International emergency beacons that have come under scrutiny following the fire. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters
Boeing has urged airlines to carry out further inspections on their planes following a report by British air accident specialists into a London jet fire.
The aircraft manufacturer has expanded inspections of an emergency locator beacon to include five more aircraft types, after problems were found with the transmitter on 787 jets.
A report by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) found the Honey International beacon could be to blame for the fire on a parked Ethiopian Airlines jet at Heathrow Airport in London earlier this month, the Associated Press reported.
The only item in the tail section with enough power to fuel the fire was the emergency transmitter, investigators found.
The AAIB went on to recommend that plane models with the beacons be scrutinised.
In response, Boeing’s marketing vice president Randy Tinseth announced it is asking operators of 717, Next-Generation 737, 747-400, 767 and 777 planes to inspect the the beacons, which activate in a crash to help rescuers find a plane.
“The purpose of these inspections is to gather data to support potential rule-making by regulators,” said Mr Tinseth in a blog.
United Airlines and All Nippon Airways last week disclosed issues with the wiring on their Boeing 787’s emergency transmitters, the same part of the plane that is getting close scrutiny following the fire.
Dreamliner jets were grounded worldwide in January after separate problems with lithium-ion batteries that overheated or caught fire. Flights resumed four months later after a revamped battery system was installed in the planes.