Photo from shows fire appears to be in the rear of the aircraft.

Photo from shows fire appears to be in the rear of the aircraft. Via

Flights were suspended at London’s Heathrow Airport [LHR] at 16:30 BST due to a fire on an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The airport was re-opened at about 18:00 BST today .

The aircraft involved is ET-AOP, which is the first 787 Dreamliner to return to service after the world-wide grounding of the aircraft. No passengers were on board at the time of the fire and officials are trying to determine the cause. Photos show that the fire was in the rear of the aircraft with noticeable damage to the top of the fuselage. Due to the location of the fire, it appears that this is not related to the lithium-ion batteries, which have plagued the Dreamliner.

According to Sky News, the aircraft was parked at a remote stand and was there for more than eight hours before smoke was detected. The plane was scheduled to be used for flight ET701 to Addis Ababa at 9pm.

Fire crews inspect the Eithiopian Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Screen shot via

Fire crews inspect the Eithiopian Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Screen shot via

Ethiopian released a statement saying, “Smoke was detected from Ethiopian Airlines B787 aircraft with registration number ET-AOP, 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.”

Via Twitter, Boeing stated, “We’re aware of the 787 event @HeathrowAirport and have Boeing personnel there. We’re working to fully understand and address this.” It is likely that Boeing will work with multiple agencies [including the NTSB] to determine the cause of the aircraft quickly and make sure this was just an isolated incident.

Live feed from Heathrow confirms aircraft is ET-AOP.

Live feed from Heathrow confirms aircraft is ET-AOP. From live feed via KIRO7.

According to the Wall Street Journal, an Ethiopian spokesman stated that, “We are investigating the cause with all officials involved, including Boeing and Heathrow.”  The WSJ is also reporting that Boeing stock has gone down 7% since the new 787 fire was announced.

RELATED: Ethiopian Airlines Takes Delivery of Their First Boeing 787 Dreamliner

It appears that the fire on the aircraft happened at one of the best locations possible at LHR. Aviation Week is stating that the fire, “could not have happened any closer to Heathrow’s airport fire station.”

View of the Ethiopian Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Heathrow via BBC News.

View of the Ethiopian Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Heathrow via BBC News.

Unrelated to the Ethiopian Boeing 787 fire at Heathrow, a Thomson Airways Dreamliner [Flight 126] heading to Standford, FL from Manchester had to turn back due to a technical issue. All the passengers were able to return safely and officials are inspecting the cause of the issue. The airline stated, “Thomson Airways can confirm that flight TOM126 travelling from Manchester to Sanford, Florida experienced a technical issue and the aircraft returned to Manchester Airport, as a precautionary measure.”

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What a nightmare for Boeing.

So, the likely question is – what caught fire in the crew rest?

Jon Ostrower reported that ETH’s airplanes do not have the aft crew rest option…

looks like they had a APU fire, Boeing has been having a big over heating problem back there and the crew probably forgot to open the new vents.


someone on break was smoking in the lavatory…

I don’t think that’s where the lithium ion problem batts are located, the APU theory sounds possible.


Wondering if Airbus had anything to do with it?

Hahn solo

APU is much further aft. This is within the cabin ceiling or galley.

Hahn solo

Definitely not batts

Will Warden

APU Bleed air leak going to the AC packs?

There is no bleed air off the APU or engines on the B787.

Sorry need to correct myself. There is a small amount of bleed air off the engines for engine anti-ice. But none for the Packs.


If you fly in this aircraft, be sure to carry on hot dogs and marshmallows. You will be able to toast the marshmallows and cook the hot dogs right in your seat.

John G

Reports are out that somebody left a coffee heater or something else in the galley on, and the switch overheated and caught fire. They’re also reporting that there is a ton of damage to the elevator system and other controls, and the plane may be a total hull loss.

If it aint glowing it’s not a boeing

Hahn Solo

Andy – you mean “glowing” – – like this – ?

Jeff Ridder

So do you replace the entire barrel on a 787 with this kind of damage. It’s not like you can just replace a panel on other aircraft.

Hahn Solo

@Jeff R – I’ve read two articles this morning declaring a total hull salvage.

The fire on board this Dreamliner seems to be caused from a food heater found in the rear galley. If an appliance e.g. oven,hotwater heater, kettle , or heating element was left on then the circuit could have overheated and caused the fire. So was it a faulty circuit breaker. These are the likely possibilities.


But would there have been power available to the galleys with the aircraft being in a dormant state?


there was a power supply connected to the aircraft, ac/dc.

hahn solo

Clearly a case of sabotage by some pro-Airbus euro-dude or dudette. . . . no way a circuit breaker or coffee maker or microwave starts a fire. Just someone trying to guarantee their future income.


Coffee makers most certainly can start large fires:

Hahn Solo

That’s a residential situation where loads of combustibles were likely in the vicinity of the failed coffee maker. An aircraft galley is a very different environ. The coffee maker would have had to have been left on – it’s integral safety mechanisms would have had to have failed AND A/C breakers would have had to have failed . . . AND – there would have had to have been considerable flammable material in the vicinity of the original failed component(s). . . . .



The location of the damage suggests a fire in the tail cone . . .perhaps a LiSO battery for the CVR or FDR. There may be batteries for the lights at the two aft exits as well. I understand there may be as many as 30 battery powered exit lights.

Yours in Safety,
Jim Helms

Why was it necessary to close the airport for 1.5 hours due to a small fire on an aircraft in a remote location?

Hahn Solo

Great question Tony and there’s only one GOOD answer – – – and that is to ensure as much attention as possible was directed towards this otherwise minor issue.

An issue which is undoubtedly unrelated to the original 787 battery problems and which very possibly was an act of sabotage by some frustrated Airbus supporter.

THe combination of this fire and additional headlines garnered when Heathrow decided to inconvenience 1000’s of pax by unnecessarily shutting the entire airport down for over an hour dropped Boeing stock price by 7%

Mark of OKC

My guess being that the fire trucks were “in service” at this airplane, there would not be enough fire trucks for any other emergency should one arise during this event. Ergo, not enough trucks means closing airport till
event is resolved.

Hahn Solo

Wow! Thats scary. Wonder how they would have responded if, for example, there was another small grass fire somewhere on the airport property or medical emergency or another A/c fire….. Odd to think your resources would be fully comitted to this one instance with no ability to respond to anything more.

Ben Dover

Will be interesting to see if this was caused by a part that was outsourced to one of the “partner” suppliers….how’s that working out for Boeing?


i think flying with boing and airbus is becoming like a nightmare to me , each flight i swallow pills of DIAZEPAM to reduce anxiety and stress !each time i wish if i could travel by trains or vessels instead of air , it is a terror to die falling from 30000 feet ! ships ,trains and buses are much safer, but not available to all destinations.

Dustin Taylor

Just discovered the other day that I have a photo of this aircraft leaving on a test flight from PAE in November ’12.

Hey Dustin,

I would love to see it :).


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