Boeing Dreamliner jet diverted over new concerns
By Shane McGinley
A United Airlines 787 Dreamliner aircraft enroute to Tokyo from Denver made a diversion to Seattle after concerns of a problem with an oil filter, creating further headaches for US manufacturer Boeing and just eight weeks after the aircraft returned to service in the Gulf after being grounded for three months.
The United flight made the diversion to Seattle on Tuesday afternoon and was attended to by an airline maintenance team due to “an indication of a problem with an oil filter,” a spokesperson told the Associated Press news agency.
As Boeing unveiled its new and improved 787-10 Dreamliner model at the Paris Air Show, the latest negative headlines are bound to cause further headaches for the US manufacturer.
The latest issue is particularly embarrassing as on Tuesday United announced it was to buy 20 of the new 787-10s and was unveiled as the North American launch customer for the jet.
Boeing’s entire 787 fleet was grounded on January 16 after two lithium-ion battery meltdowns occurred on two jets from separate airlines within two weeks of each other.
US regulators approved a new battery design late last month, clearing the way for installation and a resumption of Dreamliner flights by airlines around the world. Last weekend, Ethiopian Airlines was the first carrier to resume flying the 787 aircraft.
Qatar Airways resumed flights on Wednesday May 1, but CEO Akbar Al Baker said while the grounding had cost him $200m in lost revenue he believed it was an overreaction by regulators.
“The aircraft shouldn’t have been grounded... I think there was a reaction by the regulators because of the unnecessary emergency evacuation of the Japanese aircraft and unfortunately people today are more sensitive to what the social media say than to what should really be the fact of something like that,” he said.