Dreamliners under fire as Heathrow probe continues
London: Investigators are still trying to establish the cause of a fire on a parked Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which temporarily shut down both runways at Heathrow airport here on Friday, causing air traffic chaos at one of the world`s busiest airports.
A team from Boeing is one of several now looking into what caused the fire yesterday on the Ethiopian Airlines plane even as another 787 carrying passengers from Manchester to Florida returned home after a technical fault.
The new Thomson Airways Dreamliner returned to Manchester airport after taking off on a transatlantic flight yesterday.
"Passengers have disembarked and our dedicated team of engineers are now inspecting the aircraft. Our customers will be moved to an alternative aircraft to ensure they get away on their holiday as soon as possible."
"The safety of our customers and crew is of paramount importance and we would like to apologise for the delay caused," Thomson said in reference to its flight TOM126 to Sanford, Florida.
The latest incidents have yet again sparked safety concerns around the world`s newest passenger aircraft, which has already suffered recurrent problems with the state-of-the-art lithium batteries.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was heralded as a pioneering new plane made largely of carbon fibre and, with more systems running on electric circuits, far quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft.
However, production problems with the pioneering technology meant the first 787s did not go into commercial service until late 2011, three years late.
Then a spate of incidents, including two battery fires, grounded the entire worldwide fleet.
Ethiopian Airlines was the last airline to withdraw its four Dreamliners from service and the first to restart operations, in late May, after Boeing had worked for four months to resolve the problems.
India`s national carrier, Air India, has also turned to the new-age aircraft in the hope of reviving its flagging profits.
It has so far inducted six new Dreamliners as part of its fleet and the B787s are operating on domestic services between Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Bangalore and Delhi-Kolkata routes besides international operations to London, Frankfurt and Paris.
British Airways is due to take delivery of the first two of its 24 Dreamliners, and Virgin Atlantic is to get the first of its 16 planes in September 2014.
Among the other Dreamliner operators, Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise began flying again in April while Qatar Airways and United Continental Holdings resumed service in May.
"We have Boeing personnel on the ground at Heathrow and are working to fully understand and address this," Boeing has said in reference to the latest fire incident.
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