Analyst: Three Possible Causes of Dreamliner Fire

By Lisa Brooks

Investigators continue to look into the cause of a fire on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at London’s Heathrow Airport last week.

The United Kingdom’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch issued a directive stating the fire was located in a part of the plane nowhere near the previously troublesome lithium-ion batteries.

Richard Aboulafia is a Boeing aircraft analyst for The Teal Group. He says ruling out the batteries leaves several other possibilities.

Aboulafia: “The first, the most benign, would be something left on board, something not related to the aircraft itself. The second, and most likely perhaps, is mis-wiring, poor installation, bad retrofit—something unique to that particular aircraft. And then three is the one that people are still skittish about, which is that there’s some kind of system or technology on board that’s prone to failure. Hopefully it’s not that one.”

Nobody was on board the Ethiopian Airlines 787 at the time of Friday’s fire. Heathrow Airport was closed to take-offs and landings for a brief time during and after the incident. The investigation is expected to take several days.

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