Ethiopian Airlines aircraft catches on fire at Britain's Heathrow airport

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A fire was detected on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Ethiopian Airlines at London’s Heathrow airport on Friday , according to Reuters.

Ethiopian airlines stated in a press release that the plane “was parked at London Heathrow airport for more than eight hours,” before the fire broke out.

Heathrow closed both their runways briefly in response to the fire which began while the plane was at a remote stand.

Ethiopian Airlines also stated that no one was aboard the aircraft during the incident.

Television footage showed the Dreamliner surrounded by foam used by fire-fighters.

“A Boeing 787 Dreamliner suffered an on board internal fire,” a Heathrow spokeswoman said to Reuters. “The plane is now parked at a remote parking stand several hundred meters away from any passenger terminals.”

Boeing, the American plane manufacturer’s New York shares went down 6 percent after today’s event. It was not clear if the fire was related to the battery, which was the cause of the previous fires on Dreamliner. The aircraft was sold to Ethiopian Airlines in November of last year.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner was grounded by regulators in January after batteries burned on two of the jets within two weeks. Boeing redesigned the battery system with added layers to protect against fires, and resumed flying in April, Ethiopian Airlines being the first to put it back into passenger service.

The aircraft arrived at Heathrow from Addis Ababa in the early hours of Friday, according to the Flight radar monitoring web site. The plane was due to make the return journey later on Friday.

Asked whether the incident could lead to the renewed grounding of Dreamliner jets, a spokesman for Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority said decisions on the airworthiness of particular models of plane were made by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Ethiopian Airlines stated in a press release that “The cause of the incident is under investigation by all concerned.”

Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliners are powered by General Electric engines.

(With Reuters)