Manufacturers and operators of newly built EASA-certified large airplanes and large helicopters are now required to phase out Halon as a fire extinguishing agent in both portable and lavatory built-in systems. Halon is very effective at extinguishing fire, but it is also considered a pollutant by climate experts.
According to EASA, the aim is to gradually mitigate the environmental impact that Halon extinguishing agents in firefighting equipment have on the ozone and climate, and to progressively achieve a “Halon-free aviation, which balances the environmental concerns with safety-enhancing and cost-efficient rules.”
Under this requirement—new EASA Part 26.170 and 26.400—operators of large airplanes and large helicopters for which the first individual certificate of airworthiness is issued on or after Feb. 18, 2020, shall ensure that the built-in lavatory fire extinguisher does not use Halon. The Halon ban applies to portable extinguishers on aircraft newly certified on or after May 18, 2019.
Although EASA has taken the lead on this ICAO-recommended standard, many other national aviation regulatory authorities have not yet moved to ban Halon. In fact, the FAA requires the use of Halon 1211, or its equivalent, in the passenger cabins of large airplanes. There is no specific extinguishing agent described by the FAA for large helicopters.