Boeing begins repairs to fire-damaged Ethiopian 787

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The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 damaged in a ground fire at London Heathrow in July is being repaired and will “definitely” return to service, says the carrier’s chief executive.

The one year-old General Electric GEnx-powered aircraft (ET-AOP) suffered significant damage to its composite fuselage after it caught fire at Heathrow on 12 July when parked unoccupied on a remote stand.

Boeing and insurance surveyors have been assessing the damaged aircraft to determine the repair method and cost estimate for the carbonfibre fuselage structure. This evaluation has now been finalised allowing the repair to go head, says Ethiopian chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam.

“The 787 is under repair and it will definitely be back in service once the repair is completed,” Gebremariam tells Flightglobal Pro.

It is understood that the damage to the aircraft means it cannot be easily ferried out of Heathrow, so Boeing will undertake repairs at the airport, using a temporary hangar structure.

After the incident, UK investigators quickly focused on the aircraft’s emergency locator transmitter (ELT), urging that measures be taken to inert the Honeywell-built ELT fitted to the Boeing twinjet. They have also sought a safety review of lithium-powered emergency locator transmitters.