14 Jul 2013

No evidence yet that batteries to blame for Dreamliner fire

7:23 am on 14 July 2013

The Air Accident Investigation Board in Britain says there is no evidence at this stage that the batteries are to blame for a fire on a Boeing Dreamliner 787 at Heathrow airport on Friday.

It said there was extensive heat damage in the upper part of the rear fuselage, but it was far away from the auxillary power unit where the batteries are located.

The ABC reports the Ethiopian Airlines plane was empty at the time. It had been parked at Heathrow for more than eight hours.

The AAIB said the aircraft was moved to a hangar on Saturday morning.

Ethiopian Airlines said it was investigating the incident, but had no plans to ground its fleet of four 787 Dreamliners.

"Ethiopia's Dreamliners will continue to fly," spokesman Hailu Teklehaimanot said.

Fifty Dreamliners worldwide were grounded in January after malfunctions with the plane's lithium-ion batteries.

Boeing later modified the jets with new batteries and flights resumed in April.