On August 12th, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-9 flying from Brussels to Manchester experienced an engine fire warning on the descent towards its destination. The aircraft notified air traffic control, which in turn placed emergency services in position close to the runway.
Performing the second leg of flight ET728 from Brussels to Manchester, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787-9 was making its descent when the crew reported an alert from an engine fire indication.
Reacting to this, the crew worked through related checklists and notified Manchester’s air traffic control. The fire indication ceased after relevant checklists were performed and the aircraft made a safe landing on Manchester’s runway 23R. This was confirmed when Simple Flying reached out to the airport for comment.
The Aviation Herald reports that emergency services were dispatched to meet the aircraft as it landed. After landing on runway 23R, the 787 turned off via taxiway B1. There are no indications that emergency services needed to be used, other than for an inspection.
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About the incident aircraft
The incident aircraft is a 787-9 registered as ET-AXL with MSN 62176 and Line Number 944. This particular aircraft was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in December of 2019 and is configured to seat 30 in business class and 285 passengers in economy class.
This aircraft is powered by a pair of General Electric GEnX powerplants. The 787 has two engine options: The aforementioned GEnX and Rolls-Royce’s Trent 1000 engines.
Ethiopian’s mixed engine fleet
Interestingly, Ethiopian Airlines’ 787-9 fleet has a mix of both engine types. According to data from Planespotters.net, there are eight 787-9 Dreamliners in the carrier’s fleet, with four aircraft powered by the GEnX and the other four having the Trent 1000.
The delivery dates of these aircraft, when matched up with their engine types, are somewhat interesting- if not completely obvious to those who have stayed on top of aviation news in recent years!
The change in engine manufacturer is likely tied to an issue with Rolls-Royce’s Trent 1000 engines, which goes as far back as 2016-2017. This was when unusual corrosion was found on the engine type’s blades. The crisis dragged on for years, with a large wave of groundings taking place in 2016 and then in 2018. This saw the operations of airlines like British Airways, Air New Zealand, and Norwegian severely impacted.
With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that Ethiopian Airlines opted to go with GE engines when it expanded its fleet with an additional 787s. The last 787-9 with RR engines was delivered to Ethiopian in August of 2018, while the first -9 with GE engines joined the fleet in November of 2019.
Regarding August 12th’s warning issue, Simple Flying has reached out to Ethiopian Airlines for more information but no response was received at the time of publication.