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Ethiopian CEO receives ‘Airline Strategy Award’
British investigators have recommended the disablement and removal of all Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) systems on the B787, which is manufactured by a US-based company, Honeywell, as the system has shown indications of disruption on the battery cell.
The transmitter had been suspected of being one of several components that caused a fire to break out on one of the Dreamliners (B787s) owned by Ethiopian Airlines parked at Heathrow Airport last week in London, the investigators said.
Britain’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on July 14 it found no evidence that the fire was caused by the lithium-ion batteries that were implicated in the B787s grounding earlier this year. Honeywell is invited to join the investigation.
According to the investigators, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the USA, representing the State of Design and Manufacture, and the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), representing the State of Registry and Operator, have also been invited to appoint ‘Accredited Representatives’ to participate in the investigation along with advisors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Ethiopian Airlines.
The ELT, which is positioned in the upper rear part of the new airplane, sends a signal that leads rescue teams to the site where an aircraft has gone down. It is powered by a non-rechargeable lithium-manganese battery.
Boeing stated that it is acting as an advisor to the investigation and has a team on the ground working in support of the Authority. It has also stated that it is confident that the B787 is a safe airplane and it stands behind its overall integrity.
Heathrow Airport in London had to close all its runways briefly to deal with the fire that broke out on the Ethiopian Dreamliner on Friday July 12, which caused delays and cancelations, but was back to normal operations on Saturday, July 13.
The Ethiopian Dreamliner had been moved to a hangar at Heathrow where the technical investigation is taking place.
In a separate development, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam has been awarded the 2013 Airline Strategy Awards, making him the first CEO of an African Airline to win it in the award’s 12-year history.
A key criterion for the award is the successful utilization of regional markets with high operational integrity as well as the ability to produce good growth rates while keeping a tight grip on the costs.
“I am pleased to receive this prestigious strategy award which is in recognition of the hard work and special dedication of the 8,000 employees of Ethiopian Airlines. It is also a confirmation that our vision 2025 strategic road map of fast, profitable and sustainable growth is right and a sound one,” said Tewolde.
He was also recognized for Ethiopian’s multiple hubs strategy in Africa with its partner ASKY Airline, which operates to 22 West African destinations on top of Ethiopian’s network in Africa consisting of 45 stopovers.
Ethiopian Airlines recently finalized a deal signing an agreement with Malawi Airlines to buy 49 percent of the company’s shares.