Looks like yet another Dreamliner is on fire—this time, it's on the tarmac at London Heathrow Airport. (Luckily, it appears the jet is empty.) You'll remember that the Boeing 787 was initially grounded back in January after one of the aircraft caught fire on the ground at Boston Logan Airport. This new fire comes just months after a revised design of the Dreamliner with a new battery system was cleared for take off by the FAA and international flight organizations. Uh oh.
The BBC reports that the Ethiopia Airlines flight caught fire Friday afternoon, closing the entire airport. It appears there were no injuries. For its part, Boeing confirmed the "event" on Twitter and said that it's working with authorities to remedy the problem.
We’re aware of the 787 event @HeathrowAirport and have Boeing personnel there. We're working to fully understand and address this.— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) July 12, 2013
There's no official word on the cause of the fire just yet, but we'll update as we learn more.
This fire is seriously bad news for the Dreamliner and Boeing. The company took a big risk on the Dreamliner's battery design, and it ended up being a liability. For better or worse, the initial fire was a hiccup that officials and the aviation industry were willing to abide. Who knows if the Dreamliner will survive this incident. A second fir in six months would be bad. And that doesn't even take into account that the Dreamliner was grounded for a big chunk of that time. [BBC]