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On Friday, a Qatar Airways Airbus A321 caught fire at remote stand Q40 at Doha’s airport (DOH), likely burning the aircraft beyond economical repair. Photos from the fire show extensive damage to the plane, both inside and outside. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.

In a statement to Qatar newspaper The Peninsula, Qatar confirmed one of its A321s caught fire “whilst under maintenance”:

At 06:50am [December 8] a Qatar Airways Airbus A321 aircraft positioned at a remote stand experienced a fire whilst under maintenance at Hamad International Airport (HIA). The fire inside the cabin was promptly contained and extinguished. Whilst there was some damage to the aircraft there were no injuries. A full investigation is being conducted by the local authorities to establish the cause.

However, the photos indicate that the fire surely wasn’t “promptly contained and extinguished.” Despite fire-retardant materials used in modern aircraft, the fire had enough time to spread through the long A321 cabin, burning through the roof at both the front and rear of the aircraft.

Photos uploaded to Twitter by JACDEC and enhanced by the author.
Photos uploaded to Twitter by JACDEC and enhanced for detail by the author.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the “In-flight Entertainment (IFE) Satellite Antenna caught fire during maintenance.” Although the airline has yet to specify the plane involved, the aircraft is believed to have the registration A7-AIB, an A321-200 which entered service with Qatar Airways in July 2010 and used primarily for medium-range flights. According to FlightAware data, the aircraft’s presumably last flight was the 4:44-hour Qatar flight #234 from Moscow (DME) to Doha (DOH) on Wednesday, December 6.

According to DOH airport documents, remote stand Q40 is located at coordinates N25 17.3 E051 36.4. Images from Google Maps show that this stand is near Qatar Airways’ maintenance hangars, located quite a distance away from the terminal. This corroborates Qatar’s statement that the aircraft was undergoing maintenance at the time, instead of being located at a passenger gate.

Image by Google Maps.

While the death of an aircraft is always sad news for us AvGeeks, fortunately there were no injuries and no reported impact on Doha flights because of the incident. We look forward to the results of the Doha investigation, particularly regarding how the fire spread so quickly and caused such extensive damage if the fire was “promptly contained and extinguished.” Hopefully, lessons can be learned from this incident to make aviation even safer than it already is.

Feature image uploaded to Twitter by JACDEC.

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