Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Heathrow runways reopened after fire on parked Ethiopian Airlines plane

It's understood arrivals and departures have been suspended at Heathrow Airport
It's understood arrivals and departures have been suspended at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport has reopened its runways following a fire on a parked Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane.

It's understood arrivals and departures have been suspended at the London airport.

A number of images online show an aircraft surrounded by fire crews.

It's understood there were no passengers on board at the time.

There appeared to be damage to the top of the plane's fuselage.

The incident is certain to cause air traffic chaos at the start of a summer weekend and travel chaos around the airport.

The Dreamliner has been hit by problems on its way into service.

Thomson Airways became the first British carrier to operate the ultra-green aircraft earlier this week, and is taking delivery of eight of the planes.

Thomson had hoped to take delivery of the first of its 787s in time to start Dreamliner operations in May.

But a series of battery problems led to the grounding of the plane earlier this year while modifications were carried out.

Thomson had to scrap plans to use the Dreamliner in May and June, and only received its first plane in June.

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

It should have entered passenger service in 2008 but it was not until October 2011 that the first commercial flight was operated by Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways.

British Airways is taking delivery of the first two of its 24 Dreamliners, while Virgin Atlantic is due to get the first of its 16 Dreamliners in September next year.

Boeing shares fell sharply on the New York Stock Exchange after news broke of the incident.

A Heathrow spokesman has said "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.

"Arrivals and departures are temporarily suspended while airport fire crews attend to this incident. This is a standard procedure if fire crews are occupied with an incident."

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