Preliminary report on Boeing 787 fire expected soon

Boeing, airlines and aviation geeks eagerly are awaiting news about the fire that broke out last Friday on a 787 parked at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch could release an interim report “within days” on the incident involving a Dreamliner operated by Ethiopian Airlines, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Investigators have been looking at the 787’s emergency locator device, among other components. The AAIB could suggest temporarily removing the device from other planes while it seeks the cause of the fire, the Journal reported. Honeywell, the supplier of the emergency locator, said Wednesday that it would be willing to temporarily remove the locators but has not been instructed to do so.

Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, reminded people on Wednesday that investigators have not found any link between the fire and the 787’s lithium ion batteries.

“We’re confident the 787 is a safe airplane and we stand behind its overall integrity,” Tinseth wrote on his blog.

Virgin Atlantic said Wednesday that it’s keeping an eye on the 787’s operating problems. The carrier doesn’t expect to receive its first 787 until next year.

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