By Andrea Shalal-Esa and Alwyn Scott
July 19 The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
said on Friday it will require inspections of emergency locator
beacons on U.S.-registered Boeing Co 787 Dreamliners, but
stopped short of making airlines disable or remove the devices
blamed for a fire aboard a parked 787 in London last week.
UK investigating authorities on Thursday pinpointed the
battery-powered beacons as the likely cause of the fire and
recommended disabling the units.
The UK probe is now focused on the possible role played by
moisture and condensation in the 787 cabin.
The FAA said it is working with Boeing on instructions for
the inspections that are meant to ensure that wires are routed
properly and look for pinched wires, unusual moisture or
United Airlines is the only U.S. carrier currently
flying the 787, so is the only one formally governed by the FAA
action. Twelve other airlines also fly the plane and the FAA
said it will inform other aviation regulators about its call for
The beacons, made by Honeywell International Inc,
are designed to send out a signal so rescuers can locate the
wreckage after a crash. U.S. regulations do not require
commercial aircraft in scheduled service to carry the devices,
but most jetliners have them as standard safety equipment.
The FAA said it is continuing to work closely with the UK
Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and with Honeywell in
the probe into the July 12 fire aboard an Ethiopian Airlines
The FAA did not indicate it would expand the inspections to
other types of aircraft. The AAIB also recommended in its
announcement on Thursday that the FAA and other regulators
perform a safety review of the devices on other aircraft besides
the 787 and take action where appropriate.
Honeywell repeated its support for "temporarily addressing"
questions about the beacons on the 787. It noted that the
investigation is continuing.
Boeing said in a statement that it supported the action by
regulators in response to the AAIB's action.
"We have provided instructions to customers giving them the
required information to meet their regulatory guidelines," the
statement said. "We are working very closely with the regulatory
agencies, customers and suppliers to coordinate all required
"The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard
Boeing airplanes is our highest priority. We are confident the
787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity."
The fire has revived questions about the high-tech
Dreamliner, which has once again been thrust into the spotlight
with a fire problem.
The aircraft was grounded for 3-1/2 months earlier this year
after lithium-ion batteries in a different area of the plane
overheated, emitted smoke and in one case caught fire.
The AAIB said the lithium-manganese batteries in the
Honeywell beacons were likely the cause because they were the
only equipment located where the fire burned and they had a
power source. But it has not completely ruled out other
potential causes such as moisture, and the investigation is