Honeywell CEO urges patience on 787 fire probe

Washington DC
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Honeywell's chief executive has urged the public to have patience and not jump to conclusions about the cause of the Boeing 787 fire after one of the company's products became a focus of the investigation.

"My biggest learning from going through a number of these kind of investigations is to wait to find out what the final result is before opining on anything," says Dave Cote, Honeywell CEO, speaking to analysts on a 19 July teleconference call.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has identified the lithium-powered emergency locator transmitter (ELT) as the only system capable of igniting in the area of the 787 fire on 12 July at London Heathrow airport. But the AAIB's initial findings has not pinpointed whether the battery was the source of the fire or was simply damaged as a result.

Honeywell has previously said the Rescu406 transmitter is installed on thousands of aircraft besides the 787 fleet and has never before been linked to a fire.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is reviewing the AAIB's recommendation to disconnect all Rescue406 ELTs until the investigation establishes a cause. Honeywell has said it supports the recommendation as a "prudent" precaution.

But Cote believes the investigation could take several unexpected turns before the AAIB reaches a final conclusion.

"These things go all over the place," he says. "Wait until they've done the job. The AAIB and the FAA will do a good job sorting this whole thing through. In the meantime, there's no significant financial impact to Honeywell in any way."