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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

United Returns 787s to Service Following Flight Disruptions

By Woodrow Bellamy III

United Airlines experienced unscheduled landings with three different Boeing 787s over the last week, but the problem may have been more of the result of heightened precautions being taken because of the recent grounding of the worldwide fleet.
On Sunday, a United 787 was forced to return to Houston airport after taking off for Denver because of an issue with the brake indicator. The airline said the flight landed safely, and was forced to return to Houston because of "precautionary measures."
On Thursday a United 787 flight en route from London to Houston landed at Newark's Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, which the airline said was due to a "low oil indication." Two days prior, another United 787 made an unscheduled landing in Seattle during a flight from Denver to Tokyo also because of an indicator stating there was a problem with the oil filter. 
The incidents occurred six months after officials from FAA and other international aviation authorities grounded the worldwide 787 fleet due to problems with the lithium-ion battery system. 
In a statement, Boeing acknowledged the incidents, and indicated that they might have occurred as more of a result from precaution than an actual persisting problem with the aircraft. 
"The 787 features advanced health monitoring features that allow Boeing and airlines to understand in-flight events as they occur and prepare for responses prior to landing. For these events we stayed in close contact with our customer and worked with the airline to return the airplanes to service in as timely a manner as possible. New airplanes experience component reliability issues. Overall in-service performance continues on par or better than the Boeing 777 experience at the same time frame following its introduction. That said, we continue to focus on the 787’s reliability improvement efforts," Loretta Gunter, a spokeswoman for Boeing's 787 program said. 

United was not available for comment, though the 787s have returned to commercial service. 

Related: Aviation Today's Checklist 

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