Ethiopian Airlines 787 Fire: Public Confidence Still Strong

Last week at London’s Heathrow Airport, a small fire at the rear of an Ethiopian Airlines 787 caused significant damage to the interior of the aircraft. While authorities have confirmed that the cause was not due to the Lithium ion batteries that Boeing installed earlier this year (thank goodness the repair was substantial), they are still searching for what could have ignited the flames. I’m speculating the cause had something to do with improper servicing or maintenance, since the plane was parked at the remote maintenance ramp when the incident occurred. We’ll see.

No aspects of flying have ever frightened me enough to keep me from boarding an aircraft, and I’ll admit this situation would not keep me from flying a 787. As I recall, the 777 had various electrical issues (which were quickly resolved, thanks to the expertise at Boeing) when it was initially released in the late 1990’s. Since its release, only three fatalities have resulted from crashes involving the aircraft. (Interestingly enough, these three fatalities occurred two weeks ago in the Asiana flight 214 incident at San Francisco International). What I’m trying to get at is that the engineers at Boeing are very good at what they do, and despite a few hiccups, I don’t think there should be any qualms about the airworthiness or safety of the 787. At least, that’s what investors are assuming, considering BA is up almost six points from the beginning of the week, closing at 104.79 on the NYSE this Wednesday afternoon (source: Yahoo Finance).

More information from the NTSB, Boeing, and various airlines in this article:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/18/us-boeing-dreamliner-idUSBRE96H04N20130718

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