LONDON, United Kingdom (UPDATED) – An Ethiopian Airlines 787 Dreamliner caught fire at London’s Heathrow airport on Friday, Juy 12, in the latest calamity for Boeing’s troubled jet, forcing the airport to shut down for an hour-and-a-half.
Heathrow suspended both its runways after the fire on the parked plane was reported at around 3:30 pm. It announced 90 minutes later that services were resuming but warned passengers to expect delays.
“Emergency services are currently dealing with the incident. No one was on board so there were no casualties,” said a spokeswoman for the west London airport.
Television images showed the Dreamliner surrounded by pools of foam, with 3 fire engines on the scene.
Boeing stocks dived more than 6 percent on Friday on the news of the fire. Boeing shares shed 6.4 percent to $100 in midday New York trade.
“We have Boeing personnel on the ground at Heathrow and are working to fully understand and address this,” Marc Birtel, a Boeing spokesman, said in an email to AFP.
The fire at Heathrow is the latest in a series of problems with the high-tech jetliner.
Boeing temporarily withdrew the Dreamliner from service earlier this year for modifications after concerns that batteries on board could cause fires.
The global grounding order was issued in January after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two different jets, with one of them catching fire while the aircraft was parked.
Airlines were allowed to resume flights of the 787 in late April after Boeings’ fix of the battery problem was approved by aviation regulators.
Boeing has not been able to identify the root cause of the problems, but rolled out modifications it said would ensure they were safe.
In April, an Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner – reported to be the same plane that caught fire at Heathrow – flew from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on the first commercial flight since the grounding.
Heathrow is London’s main airport and one of the busiest passenger hubs in the world. – Rappler.com
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