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Friday, July 12, 2013

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Fire Closes Heathrow Runways

By Woodrow Bellamy III

London Heathrow Airport temporarily suspended operations at both runways Friday after a Boeing 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines caught fire while parked on a remote parking stand. 
 
No passengers were aboard the aircraft when the onboard fire was detected. Fire crews were called in and have reportedly dealt with the incident, according to a spokesperson for Heathrow Airport. 
 
"Heathrow’s runways are beginning to re-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. There were no passengers on board," the spokesperson said in a statement.
 
Ethiopian Airlines released a statement indicating that the cause of the incident is currently "under investigation by all concerned." 
 
Boeing released a statement through its Twitter account, stating that the company has personnel at Heathrow "working to fully understand and address this." A spokesperson for the company said updates will be released as they become available. 
 
In January, the worldwide fleet of Boeing 787s was grounded following incidents involving overheating of the aircraft's lithium-ion battery system. Currently its unclear whether the Ethiopian Airlines incident involved the plane's newly modified lithium ion system. 
 
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