A fire was reported in the interior of a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines, forcing the temporary closing of Heathrow Airport near London.
The aircraft was parked in a remote area of the airport at the time when the fire started, which has since been extinguished. No passengers were aboard the aircraft at the time, and no casualties have been reported.
Both runways had been closed to commercial air traffic at Heathrow Airport, but the airport is now open again as of moments ago. Delays of up to seven hours are being reported for some flights; while other flights have reportedly been canceled.
Personnel from Boeing — the manufacturer of the “Dreamliner” — are reportedly at Heathrow Airport to investigate what exactly happened. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, although evidence of the fire can reportedly be seen externally in front of the tail fin.
Although the Civil Aviation Authority has no plans at this time to investigate this incident, it could potentially be a major setback for the aircraft, whose entire fleet was grounded worldwide back in January by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States and its counterpart governmental organizations in other countries due to reported fires and other issues which plagued the “Dreamliner.” Some airlines had voluntarily stopped operating their fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft before the grounding became mandatory. The grounding of the aircraft had since been lifted three months ago after the Federal Aviation Administration had approved a plan submitted by Boeing detailing how the problems were to be resolved in order for the aircraft to be deemed safe for commercial operations once again.
Meanwhile — in an apparently unrelated issue — a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft operating as Thompson Airlines flight 126 traveling from England to Sanford, Florida in the United States has reportedly returned to Manchester Airport as the result of experiencing a technical issue during its flight. Upon its return, passengers had exited the aircraft, which is currently being inspected and investigated by engineers.
As asked back in December of 2012: should you avoid flying as a passenger on Boeing 787 aircraft in the future?