Battery used in locator looked at in airline fire: source

Investigators looking into the fire on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in London are checking the battery of an emergency locator transmitter built by Honeywell International, according to a source.

The source familiar with the investigation has told Reuters that the battery may have caused the fire. The fire occurred in an Ethiopian Airlines jet in London last week.

The investigation is being led by Britain's Air Accident Investigations Branch. Honeywell has joined the investigation but has declined to discuss details. The company did say it had no previous experience of difficulties with this type of transmitter.

According to the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, investigators are studying an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) which is positioned in the upper rear part of the new airliner and sends a signal that leads rescuers to downed aircraft.

The ELT uses a lithium manganese battery, according to an unnamed source.

The International Business Times notes that experts have said that lithium ion batteries, a different battery system, likely didn't cause Friday’s fire, even though they've been responsible for fires earlier this year.

In one of those earlier cases, the battery of a parked Japan Airlines plane in Boston caught fire. And in the second incident, another battery overheated on an All Nippon flight in Japan, prompting an emergency landing and evacuation.