Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) is facing just another problem with its 787 Dreamliner. This time, United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) explained in an email Thursday that one of its planes, en route from London to Houston, was forced to divert to Newark, New Jersey following a low oil indication. Though the airplane landed normally, the episode joins a string of incidents that Boeing has faced with its fleet of 787s.
The 787′s first setback in January was perhaps a good forecast of what was to follow. After already being late coming off the production line, the airplane was grounded worldwide due to overheating battery problems. The Dreamliner was finally given the go-ahead to fly in May, four months later, but has since continued to face issues.
Just another diversion occurred earlier this week on Tuesday when an United 787 on its way from Tokyo was forced to divert to Seattle, rather than its planned destination, Denver. That plane, too, landed safely, with the root of the problem being with the oil filter in an engine; however, Boeing has maintained that the issues are not related.
Track back to a couple weeks earlier in the month and we have more Dreamliner problems, this time in Japan. Ana Holdings Inc, operator of the biggest fleet of 787s was forced to cancel a flight from Ube to Tokyo after the right engine failed to start. That marked the third cancellation in a week for the aircraft in Japan, as earlier that week , another airline was forced to scrap a flight bound for Singapore due to problems with the anti-icing system.
Though flight cancellations and plane diversions are not uncommon, the 787 is especially under the microscope due to its past history. When questioned about the 787′s issues in Japan, Yvonne Leach, a Boeing spokesman asserted, “We are aware of issues as they arise and work with our airline customers to resolve them as quickly as possible. Cancellations aren’t rare occurrences and not limited to the 787.”
Battery issues especially come under scrutiny because of the malfunction that kept the Dreamliner initially grounded for four months, but neither the Japan Transport Safety Board nor any other safety organization has felt the compulsion to launch an investigation. According to Boeing, all of the airline’s battery issues are separate than the ones which plagued the Dreamliner earlier this year, and all of the 787′s different problems have been unrelated.
When questioned about the 787′s most recent diversion, Boeing said in an emailed statement, “We will work with United and General Electric to complete the appropriate maintenance and testing activities, and return the airplane to service. This is not related to the issue another United airplane experienced earlier this week.”
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