Boeing, We Have a Problem

Want to see what happens to an airplane manufacturing company after yet another one of its aircraft bursts into flames on the tarmac?

That's an intraday chart of Boeing . The cliff you see around noon corresponds to news that yet another of its flagship 787 Dreamliners caught fire on an airport tarmac -- to be clear, the plane was empty at the time of the fire. For those of you that are counting, this is now the third such incident since the 787 began its commercial life.

According to The New York Times, "An internal fire broke out on Friday on a Boeing 787 that Ethiopian Airlines had parked between flights at London's Heathrow Airport." While it remains to be seen what caused the fire, this isn't good.

It was only seven weeks ago that the innovative aircraft was allowed back in the skies by global regulators following two similar occurrences earlier this year. In the first, a lithium-ion battery caught fire on a 787 parked at the Boston airport in the beginning of January. One week later, the same thing happened mid-flight, causing a 787 to make an emergency landing in Japan.

Aviation authorities subsequently grounded the plane until the problem could be identified and addressed, ultimately leaving the aircraft out of service for three and a half months. "During the grounding, Boeing developed a system to contain any potential fire risk of the jet's lithium-ion batteries," The Wall Street Journal reported.

Suffice it to say, today's news potentially calls that into question. In a statement on Twitter, the company said, "We're aware of the 787 event @HeathrowAirport and have Boeing personnel there. We're working to fully understand and address this."

In the short term, this isn't going to help Boeing's stock. Over the longer term, however, it's hard to assume that this is anything but a temporary blip.

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