Heathrow fire investigation begins
An air accident investigation is under way after an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire at Heathrow Airport.
The aircraft, which has been plagued with problems since its launch, caught fire while on a remote parking stand shortly after 4.30pm on Friday, said a Heathrow spokesman.
Nobody was on board at the time of the incident and there were no injuries, he added. Runways were closed to all flights for an hour and a half while emergency crews dealt with the incident, causing diversions and long delays for passengers.
Meanwhile, Thomson Airways said a Dreamliner flight from Manchester to Florida had to be diverted back to the UK earlier on Friday due to a "technical issue". Boeing temporarily withdrew the Dreamliner from service earlier this year for modifications after concerns that batteries on board could cause fires.
A Heathrow spokesman said: "Heathrow's runways are now fully open following an earlier fire on board an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft which the airport's emergency services attended. The aircraft was parked on a remote parking stand and there were no passengers on board. Arrivals and departures were temporarily suspended while airport fire crews attended to this incident. This is a standard procedure if fire crews are occupied with an incident."
The fire appeared to have caused damage to the top of the plane's fuselage.
An Air Accidents Investigation Branch spokesman said: "We are aware of the incident at Heathrow and have sent a team to investigate."
A Boeing spokesman said: "We're aware of the event. We have Boeing personnel on the ground at Heathrow and are working to fully understand and address this."
Ethiopian Airlines said the plane had been parked at Heathrow for more than eight hours before smoke was detected. A statement from the airline said: "Smoke was detected from Ethiopian Airlines B787 aircraft ... which was parked at London Heathrow airport for more than eight hours. The aircraft was empty when the incident was observed. The cause of the incident is under investigation by all concerned."
The US National Transportation Safety Board said that it was sending a representative to London to assist authorities with their investigation into the fire.