UK agency: Dreamliner fire not caused by battery fault; Ethiopian Airlines to continue flying 787s
LONDON -- A British governmental body investigating a fire on an empty Boeing 787 aircraft at London’s Heathrow Airport says there is no evidence it was caused by faulty batteries.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said in a statement Saturday that it was clear that the damage to the Ethiopian Airlines plane was far from the area where the carrier’s batteries are located.
Investors in Boeing, which calls the plane a Dreamliner, had feared that Friday’s fire meant that the battery problem that had grounded the whole fleet of such planes in January had not been fixed.
The incident did not cause any injuries because no one was aboard the plane, but it forced runways at Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, to shut down for nearly an hour.
On Saturday, the chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines said his company is continuing to operate its fleet of Boeing 787s despite the incident at Heathrow.
Tewolde Gebremariam told The Associated Press Saturday that there is “no flight safety issue” with the 787s and that Ethiopian Airlines, like other operators, has not made changes regarding the planes.
Tewolde said all of Ethiopian Air’s flight schedules are operating normally.
The cause of the fire on the empty Ethiopian Airlines plane, which broke out Friday more than eight hours after it had landed in London, remained under investigation.
The airline was the first carrier to use the 787 in April after the fleet was grounded in January following two incidents with its lithium-ion batteries.