Boeing Dreamliner catches fire at Britain’s Heathrow airport

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London’s Heathrow airport reopened Friday evening after stopping all departures and arrivals for about an hour because of a fire on an empty Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787, the airport press office said Friday.

Boeing officials were being dispatched to analyze the problem, the company said.

“We have Boeing personnel on the ground at Heathrow and are working to fully understand and address this,” Boeing said in a statement.

The Dreamliner is a jet that has experienced several problems in the last year or two. The entire global fleet of 50 Dreamliners was temporarily grounded in January after two battery overheating incidents triggered concerns among safety officials.

Details about what led to the fire weren’t immediately available.

The 787 Dreamliner began service in the United States in 2012.


Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787
 at London’s Heathrow airport

Among the Dreamliner’s innovative designs is a battery system that uses new, lightweight lithium-ion batteries.

The January grounding of the plane by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and similar regulators worldwide came after two battery-related fires damaged 787s in Boston and Japan. No one was hurt in the fires.

In March, the FAA approved a Boeing certification plan to fix the 787s’ problematic lithium-ion battery system and prove the new design is safe.

The commercial airliner boasts high fuel efficiency because of the lightweight carbon composite materials used in its wings and fuselage.

In an apparent show of confidence in the new airliner, United Airlines announced last month that it’s ordering 20 additional Dreamliners, specifically the 787-10 model, a longer version of the plane.

The plane represents a new generation of efficient wide-body, long-range aircraft, helping to make it among the world’s most heavily scrutinized aircraft.

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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