Ethopian Airlines Releases Statement On Smoldering Dreamliner; UTX Climate System Implicated In Fire

Tyler Durden's picture

In the aftermath of the latest humiliation for Boeing, which after getting Dreamliner clearance by absolutely every "authority" imaginable, from the NTSB to the FAA to CNBC's Phil LeBeau, that it was absolutely safe to fry, pardon, fly, just had a major meltdown, oops there we go again, on live TV in Heathrow airport, one wonders - what happens when the regulators rush to give the all clear once more, only for yet another Dreamliner to mysteriously burst in flames several months hence?

Alas that would mean that the very same regulators that lifted the fry, pardon, fly ban on the plane will have to impose it all over again, thus disgracing their pre-clearance methods (likely accelerated courtesy of an occasional envelope full of cash under the door somewhere in the decision chain) even more. And how long until the damage to the brand is so great that Boeing will have no choice but to replace every 8 in its 787 nomenclature with a 9, thus pulling the brilliant GMAC->Ally Bank conversion.

All these are questions that Boeing, the FAA and the NTSB will have to answer very soon, and for the benefit of BA shareholders, with a favorable resolution. Then again, in the matter of recalls, be it of cars or airplanes, the math is well-known...

In the meantime, here is the latest.

Two hours ago, Ethiopian Airlines finally piped in, and on its Facebook page (!) posted the following non-update update:

The above was merely public cover because Mark Mangooni, Ethiopian Airlines' senior manager in Britain, told the Financial that airline staff had discovered a problem with the aircraft's air conditioning system during a routine inspection and had seen sparks but no flames. The report did not make clear when this had happened. Reuters could not reach Mangooni for comment.

In other words, short UTC Aerospace (NYSE:UTX) which is the owner of Hamilton Sundstrand which is the manufacturer of the Dreamliner climate system. At least until such time as the shorting volume dissipates and the BTFD algos return and send the stock right back up.

Elsewhere, investigations have begun. From Reuters.

Investigators started work on Saturday to establish the cause of a fire on a Boeing Dreamliner at London's Heathrow airport, a new setback for the high-tech model after it was grounded at the start of the year over battery problems.


The fire broke out on the plane, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, on Friday afternoon, when it was parked at a remote stand with no passengers on board, eight hours after arriving from Addis Ababa. No one was injured.


External scorching could be seen close to the plane's tail, in a different area from the bays containing batteries. There was no official indication of what could have caused the fire.


"The aircraft has been moved to a secure hangar at Heathrow and the investigation has begun," said a spokesman for Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).


The AAIB will lead the investigation, working alongside the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing, he said.


Separately, engineers from Britain's Thomson Airways were inspecting their own Boeing Dreamliner after it had to turn back during a flight on Friday from Manchester in England to Sanford in Florida because of an unspecified technical issue.


Boeing will be keen to reassure airlines, travelers and investors over the cause of the Heathrow fire as quickly as possible but under aviation rules it will be up to investigators to decide how much information to release and when.


Ethiopian Airlines, one of Africa's top five carriers, said it would continue to fly its Dreamliner fleet. It has ordered a total of 10 Dreamliners of which four have been delivered.


"The incident at Heathrow happened while the plane was on the ground and had been for more than eight hours and was not related to flight safety," the carrier said in an emailed statement on Saturday.


"After a normal flight from Addis to London passengers disembarked in the morning and the aircraft was cleaned. It was towed to a remote parking area as usual and parked properly with all internal and external powers switched off," said an official from the airline's public relations department.

So first the batteries, then the climate system, what will be the next component in the globally-sourced motley crew assembly to fritz out in what is rapidly becoming the most problematic plane in recent Boeing history?

And how long until the phrase "corporate sabbotage" starts being casually tossed about?

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Lmo Mutton's picture

"Safe to fry" Spank you.



nmewn's picture

With pilots named Wi Tu Lo what could possibly go wong? ;-)

Manthong's picture

Ethiopa is not Uganda
and Boeing is not Chevrolet

and just in case anybody missed it, this cannot be posted too many times..

Kiss My Icelandic Ass's picture



"...during a routine inspection ... had seen sparks but no flames"


Whew. No flames. Just sparks. That's a relief ! Nothing to see here folks, just a few sparks ...

philipat's picture

The location of the fire is clearly where the APU is located. This is used to power the aircraft on the ground when the main engines are not running. The APU has its own LI battery located below it in the tail section.

APU's, seemingly unlike Mercedes cars in Los Angeles, are not known for spontaneous combustion. Hmmm, what else could be involved here.........

RECISION's picture

Hmmm, that's odd.

All the APU's I have ever seen have been right in the aft end of the tail cone.

And I bet you anything you want that the 787 APU is also located right at the end of the tail cone as well - go on, take me up on that...  :-)

in other words - not even close to the scorch marks in front of the tail. Which would also imply that the fire was forward of the rear bulkhead - or inside the pressure cabin. 

Talking shit much...???

My guess is it is from something inside the cargo hold or aft galley.

Mentalic's picture

+1000 LMAO !!!

Is that someone's idea of a joke??????

Sum Tim Wong?

Ho Lee Fuk?

Wi Tu Lo?

Kiss My Icelandic Ass's picture



Yep. Actually, full name is "Wi Wei Tu Lo " .

ToNYC's picture

No fair. My people evolved beyond barbequeing lamb in the galley...seems like  years ago.

Eireann go Brach's picture

Obama obviously thought Snowden was on that plane and asked the NSA to set it on fire!

MacGruber's picture

This is what happens when corporations get greedy. Rather than build a huge aluminum airplane or a small composite airplane they decided it would be best to quadruple the complexity and do both at the same time. Expect more in fright failures.

greatbeard's picture

>> This is what happens when corporations get greedy.

Actually the USA is what happens when corporations get greedy.

monoloco's picture

I'm wondering where Ethiopian Airlines got the financing to buy a fancy new 787. Is Boeing offering sub-prime airliner financing, or what?

DollarMenu's picture

They bought 10, six still to be delivered.

Chunk o change, that.

Jam Akin's picture

They did however receive a nice discount on Boeing's "factory seconds".

mjcOH1's picture

"I'm wondering where Ethiopian Airlines got the financing to buy a fancy new 787. Is Boeing offering sub-prime airliner financing, or what?"

They didn't.   They're leased from AIG, which luckily has unlimited sucking rights on the US treasury since it lobbies too effectively to fail...

LOS ANGELES – November 1, 2012 – International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG), announced today that Ethiopian Airlines, one of the fastest growing airlines in Africa, has agreed to lease three of Boeing’s new Dreamliner 787-8 aircraft.

thisandthat's picture

You gotta love corporate pr bs talk: "has agreed"... as if it was like - hey, Ethiopian Airlines, we're kind of stuck with these 787, here; would you be so kind to lease them from us - we'd be willing to pay you accordingly for the trouble...

monoloco's picture

Well, it's good to know that I'll get my Star Alliance miles when I fly EAL.

ToNYC's picture

Red,Gold, and Green.

Special Purpose Aircraft Acquisition Bonds paying off in lambsbread... stream of income coupon payment on  nExport-dImport delivery in rare climes at right times.

Don't ask.

Red,Gold, and Green.

repeat, rotate.

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

The way I see it, the USA is what happens when corporations don't stand up to Gubmint. 'You say you want all our clients' data, or we'll have 'troubles'? OK, here you go...

Freddie's picture

I talked to someone who knows people who work for Alcoa.  They said they had a newer aluminum that was a better option all around than carbon fibre in the 787.  They said Boeing always wanted to go carbon fibre and Alcoa was pretty pissed.

Well I guess those chickens are coming home to roost.


MacGruber's picture

Yeah, they had to do major redesigns late in the project because the complexity of the carbon wings was so great, even how they were going to strap them to the fusilage. They got it in their heads that they had to do carbon and that was that. I'm also waiting to see how they plan to maintain the airframe over the long haul.

Element's picture

After warranty expires that will become the owner's operational problem, not the manufacturers.

It remains to be seen if carbon fiber will be a success in jets. The first one it was tried in (Premier 1) has already gone out of production (it was actually rather heavy and thirsty, which was not what everyone had in mind), but much older aluminum designs that it competed directly with, have been upgraded and are still selling fairly well. I think we can call that one a partial failure to compete in the market place.

Otherwise we have the $2 billion a piece B2 as the other significant example.

mkkby's picture

Yep, a plastic airplane.  How long before static electricity causes the whole thing to blow up?

Every new technology should be avoided until the bugs are worked out.  Consumer Reports doesn't recommend a car in the first model year no matter how well it does in their early tests.  Early adopters are suckers for companies that rush half-baked products to market.

I'm sure in 10-20 years all the bugs will be worked out and this will be a great new technology seen in every new plane and car.  Until then, I'll stay away.

azzhatter's picture

Phil Lablow guzzles a lot of auto and aircraft jizm to keep his job. Guy is a major league douchebag

NeoLuddite's picture

Flight attendant: "Thank you for frying with us. We hope you had a very nice fright."

Cdad's picture

Very very when this all happened live on tv, two DOW stocks were reacting quite negatively, BA and UTX.  The rest of the DOW stocks were in screaming BUY mode at that exact time, of course, to keep up DOW appearances.

Once again, in the entirely rigged, broken, insider traded, and daily manipulated stock market...errrrr...Pachinko machine...someone knew exactly what the cause was.  


starman's picture

if you compare a Mercedes assembly line with a Boing assembly line you wished you could fly a Mercedes! and that goes to GM, Ford, Chevy and any other US automaker! 

Dingleberry's picture

If Harley Davidson made an airliner.....would you fly it?

Freddie's picture

Hell no.  Those old engines sound like shit.  HD are motorcycles for old guys and crank (meth) heads.

shinola's picture

They should re-name this plane the "1973 Pinto".

hunglow's picture

 Ethiopia has an airline?  I don't have an airline.

suteibu's picture

My thoughts. too.  And not only and airline but one with enough credit to buy the 787.  When one thinks of Ethiopian Airlines, one is more apt to imagine something like "Air America"

nmewn's picture

I wonder what the in-flight meal consists of.

FieldingMellish's picture

Guilt, with a side helping of shame.

francis_sawyer's picture



Eat the plastic fork or you'll still be hungry... It tastes like Chinese rice...

Element's picture



"I wonder what the in-flight meal consists of."


Only the best in-vogue UN-approved grubs and locusts, with cricket sauce, and creme cockroach desert, and Bealtejuice .. um ... juice.

It's what all the richest globalists recommend.

Clever Name's picture

I'll have to stick up for Ethiopian food, please try it sometime. They also eat raw steak which I've tried, much to the pleasure of all the old Ethiopian guys in the restaurant.

And you get to eat with your hands!

Element's picture

Well ... well, ... we ... we eat with a napkins! ... so there!


(don't get me wrong here, not dis-ing Ethiopian food, just paying-out on UN parasites and their dietary recommends)

monoloco's picture

No food, just khat. 

Totentänzerlied's picture

You may thank EXIM "Bank" and the US government.

FieldingMellish's picture

They actually have 4 787's. Three now remain in service.

A Nanny Moose's picture

"Don't worry, I crash better than anybody I know."

Pairadimes's picture

Hmm. So the Nightmareliner is just a metaphor for a society built on multiculturalism, then?

americanspirit's picture

Let's not forget that Ethiopian Emperor Highly Selassie be de Jah man who inspire de Dreamliner Mon. He smoke whenever he fly, troot.

Freeman Tilden's picture

H.I.M. Haile Selassie I , Speech to the United Nations. (excerpt) 
New York CityNY  October 4, 1963

"...until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained; And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique and in South Africa in subhuman bondage have been toppled and destroyed; Until bigotry and prejudice and malicious and inhuman self-interest have been replaced by understanding and tolerance and good-will; Until all Africans stand and speak as free beings, equal in the eyes of all men, as they are in the eyes of Heaven; Until that day, the African continent will not know peace. We Africans will fight, if necessary, and we know that we shall win, as we are confident in the victory of good over evil..."