Heathrow shuts runways over Dreamliner fire

Both runaways at London`s Heathrow airport were shut down for an hour-and-a-half after a fire on a parked Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet on Friday.

Last Updated: Jul 13, 2013, 00:07 AM IST

London: Both runaways at London`s Heathrow airport were shut down for an hour-and-a-half after a fire on a parked Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet on Friday.

One of the world`s busiest airports in south-west London, which has now re-opened, suspended arrivals and departures for a temporary period as a result of the incident.

"We can confirm there has been an on-board internal fire involving an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft and the airport`s emergency services are in attendance. The aircraft was parked on a remote parking stand. There were no passengers on board and there are no reported injuries at this time," a Heathrow spokesperson said.

"Arrivals and departures were temporarily suspended. This is a standard procedure if fire crews are occupied with an incident," he added.
The latest incident is yet another involving the Dreamliner aircraft, also part of a set of mega new fleet acquired by Air India.

Fifty Dreamliners worldwide were grounded in January after malfunctions with the plane`s lithium-ion batteries.

Boeing later modified the jets with new batteries and flights resumed in April.

The Dreamliner`s battery problems followed production difficulties for the aircraft, marketed as a quiet, fuel-efficient aircraft carrying between 201 and 290 passengers on medium-range routes.

"We`re aware of the event. We have Boeing personnel on the ground at Heathrow and are working to fully understand and address this," a Boeing spokesperson said.
India`s national carrier, Air India, has pinned its hopes on the new-age aircraft and has so far inducted six new Dreamliners as part of its fleet. 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.

PTI