Flights suspended at London′s Heathrow after Dreamliner fire | News | DW | 12.07.2013
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Flights suspended at London's Heathrow after Dreamliner fire

Runways have reopened at London's Heathrow Airport after a blaze on a parked plane with no crew or passengers aboard. Arrivals and departures were temporarily suspended as the fire was tackled.

Emergency crew surrounds a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, which caught fire at Britain's Heathrow airport in this July 12, 2013 still image taken from video. The plane caught fire at the airport on Friday, forcing the closure of both runways (Photo: REUTERS/Pool via Reuters TV)

London Heathrow Flugzeugbrand Ethiopian Airlines

Television images showed there were almost a dozen fire trucks on the scene, with firefighters surrounding the plane, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

"The aircraft was parked on a remote parking stand and there were no passengers on board," a Heathrow spokeswoman said. "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."

From the images, it appeared that fire-retardant foam had been sprayed. However, no damage to the plane was immediately apparent.

The incident could spell further trouble for Boeing as far as the Dreamliner is concerned. The company temporarily withdrew the jet from service earlier this year to carry out modifications, saying these would ensure that its batteries were safe in the future.

Mysterious battery problem

The grounding of the planes followed concerns that batteries on board could cause fires. The reason for Friday's fire was not immediately evident.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said the company had personnel at Heathrow, adding that the aircraft maker was "working to fully understand and address" the situation.

In a separate incident on Friday evening, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Thomson Airways, heading for Florida, was forced to return to Manchester Airport due to a "technical issue."

rc/ipj (AP, Reuters, AFP)