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Monday
Jul152013

Transmitter Eyed in Heathrow 787 Fire

Duncan Chard/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Honeywell, the maker of aviation emergency transmitters, said Monday it has joined the investigation of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner fire at Heathrow Airport in London.

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 caught fire at Heathrow on Friday. The plane was on a remote parking stand and there were no passengers on board. The airport was closed to air traffic during the incident. The fire appears to have occurred near where the transmitter is located in the rear of the aircraft, according to media reports.

"It's far too premature to speculate on the cause, or draw conclusions and you should refer your questions to the NTSB," Honeywell, based in Morristown, N.J. said in a statement. "Our ELT products have been certified by the FAA since 2005, are used on a number of aircraft models, and we've not seen nor experienced a single reported issue on this product line."

Honeywell's stock remained flat on Monday, falling about 0.08 percent.

Daniel Holland, equity analyst with Morningstar, said, "In general, Honeywell has done a good job over the last couple of years of improving operations and building up its products within the aerospace arena where they are not just focused on business jet engines but avionics."

On Friday, shares of Boeing plunged as much as 7 percent after reports of the fire at Heathrow. Boeing stock bounced back on Monday, trading up by more than 3.7 percent. The Dreamliner is Boeing's newest and most fuel-efficient plane, with orders for more than 500 planes on the books.

The latest statement from Boeing said, "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 UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has opened an investigation into Friday's 787 incident at London Heathrow Airport. Boeing has been asked to participate as an advisor to the investigation and has a team on the ground working in support of authorities. In order to ensure the integrity of the process and in adherence to international protocols that govern safety investigations, all publicly released information concerning the investigation must come from, or be approved by, the AAIB."

The AAIB said on Saturday, "The initial witness and physical evidence shows that this event resulted in smoke throughout the fuselage and extensive heat damage in the upper portion of the rear fuselage." The NTSB said it sent a representative to assist in the investigation.

The AAIB said the incident was most likely not related to a battery issue that grounded 787 planes earlier this year.

"There has been extensive heat damage in the upper portion of the rear fuselage, a complex part of the aircraft, and the initial investigation is likely to take several days," the UK agency said on Saturday. "However, it is clear that this heat damage is remote from the area in which the aircraft main and APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) batteries are located, and, at this stage, there is no evidence of a direct causal relationship."

Until mid-April, the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators grounded the global Dreamliner fleet for three months due to a battery catching fire on a plane parked in Boston, and another emergency landing in Japan. The batteries and their cases were redesigned as a result of the grounding.

Since launching commercially in 2011, there have been problems with the aircraft, dubbed The Dreamliner, around the world.

On June 23, a Boeing 787 made an emergency landing in Houston after a brake indicator light incorrectly indicated there was an issue.

After the plane landed safely, United Airlines said, "Following standard operating procedures, as a precautionary measure, the flight landed in emergency status."

On June 12, an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner flight was canceled when an engine would not start. On the previous day, a Japan Airlines flight to Singapore returned to Tokyo because of a deicing problem. On June 18, a Denver to Tokyo flight was diverted because of an oil indicator light.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio