OK to drop 787 beacons: ministry

Kyodo

The transport ministry has decided to allow the nation’s two top airlines to fly Boeing 787s without the Honeywell emergency locator transmitters that have been linked to last week’s Dreamliner blaze in London, ministry officials said Saturday.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry relayed the decision to All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co., saying they could fly with portable emergency transmitters alone, the officials said.

The move came after British investigators probing the incident at London’s Heathrow Airport suggested that the built-in emergency locator transmitter on all 787s in service be disabled until a permanent fix is found.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch of Britain’s Department for Transport said the most damaged external areas coincide with the location of the Emergency Locator Transmitter in the rear. The device issues an emergency signal during accidents.

The Boeing 787s run by ANA and JAL also have the transmitters, the ministry said.