A bittersweet moment for Boeing today as it’s been declared by investigators that yesterday’s fire aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that occurred at London’s Heathrow airport was unrelated to the plane’s battery. While it’s good news that the redesigned battery isn’t failing again, it seems Boeing still has an issue with the new plane.
Britain’s Air Accident Investigation Branch released a statement on the incident and detailed where the fire was located, saying that there was “extensive heat damage in the upper portion of the rear fuselage,” and the batteries are located far from that area. Because of that, the AAIB says that “there is no evidence of a direct causal relationship.”
While it’s a good sign that it’s not another battery problem (considering that the FAA approved the new design for the battery), the fire is still unexplained, and the AAIB said it would take several days just to complete the initial investigation.
No matter what the cause of the fire was, this is not great news for the 787 or Boeing as a whole. The initial problems of the new aircraft already cost Boeing millions of dollars, and another grounding of the entire 787 fleet would just add insult to injury. The 787 was initially grounded by the FAA back in January after problems with the battery caused fires on several of the planes.
Luckily, there were no passengers on the plane at the time of the fire, and those who were on the plane were able to safely get off and weren’t injured. Again, the cause of the fire is still unknown, but it appears to have been an isolated incident, as the rest of the 787 fleet are continuing to fly.
IMAGE CREDIT: Boeing