Boeing Dreamliner Catches Fire At Heathrow

Jul 12, 2013

A fire on a 787 Dreamliner is out, and flights at London’s Heathrow Airport have resumed. No one was on board the parked Ethiopia Airlines jet during the incident and no injuries are reported. But speculation about the cause of the fire sent Boeing shares tumbling.

If another battery problem is discovered, the fleet of 787s would likely be grounded again.
Credit José A. Montes / Wikimedia Commons

Aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia says the location of the damage, at the top of the fuselage on the rear of the plane, probably rules out a new problem with the plane’s batteries.

“It looks like the actual flames were away from the battery area, which is absolutely key in assessing worst-case scenarios for Boeing here.”

The entire fleet of 787s was grounded in January because of problems with the plane’s lithium-ion batteries, one of which caught fire at Boston’s Logan airport. The planes resumed flying in late April after Boeing made redesigns to the battery system that were approved by global aviation regulators. Ethiopian was the first airline to resume using the 787.

If another battery problem is discovered, the fleet would likely be grounded again.

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