Newly privatised carrier Lithuanian Airlines will be launch customer for a European-wide mandatory Mode S transponder modification developed by Wisconsin-based ECS for the Boeing 737-300/400/500 “Classic” family.

Although operators were recently given a new installation deadline of March 2007, “the more prudent carriers are getting the modifications done in advance of the big rush that will follow”, says ECS business development regional director Petras Vainius.

The mandate extension, agreed between Eurocontrol and the regulatory authorities of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK, supersedes an earlier call for operators to install Mode S elementary surveillance (ELS) by March 2005, followed by Enhanced Surveillance (EHS) transponders by 2007. Avionics integration specialist ECS was granted a supplemental type certificate (STC) in June for Honeywell’s ELS/EHS Mode S transponders on the 737 Classic, and expects to gain an STC for the same upgrade on the 737-600/700/800 series by the end of October.

In addition, ECS also holds STCs for Honeywell and Rockwell Collins transponders on the 757-200, Collins ELS Mode S on the 747 “Classic” and the ACSS ELS/EHS Mode S transponder on Boeing MD-11s. ECS, which is working with Turkish carrier SunExpress on the initial 737-700/800 installation, plans to “have all configurations on our STC covering Collins-, Honeywell- and ACSS-built transponder options”, says Vainius. “I suspect we will be doing a lot of other aircraft types,” he adds.

The Lithuanian deal covers four of the airline’s five 737-500s, the fifth being fitted with Collins equipment. Lithuanian says it plans to replace its remaining two 737-200s and acquire additional -300/500s.


Source: Flight International