Japan's ANA removing locator beacons from domestic Boeing 787s

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's ANA Holdings, which operates the world's biggest fleet of Boeing Co 787 Dreamliners, said it is removing built-in locator beacons from eight of the jets plying domestic routes.

The decision comes after investigators in Britain identified the device as the likely cause of a fire on the aircraft in London.

ANA's action, which a spokesman said was "to reassure passengers", goes beyond advice issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration, which so far has only asked Dreamliner operators to inspect the beacons.

ANA has already removed the Honeywell International locators from four 787s and will remove it from four more, but said it will keep the device in the remaining 12 Dreamliners after checks because they fly overseas to countries that still require them to be installed.

Japan's aviation regulator last week said it will allow its airlines, which also carry mobile beacons on their aircraft, to fly without built-in models following the incident at London's Heathrow Airport earlier this month.

The probe by Britain's Air Accident Investigation Branch is looking at the role played by moisture and condensation in the 787 cabin, which has a higher humidity level than other aircraft.

The beacons are designed to guide rescuers to downed aircraft, although in most cases close radar tracking and eye witness reports allow air traffic controllers to pinpoint crash sites.