Diverted United 787 passengers resume Tokyo trip

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Associated Press

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 19 at 12:00 PM

SEATTLE (AP) — Passengers from a United Airlines Denver-to-Tokyo flight that diverted to Seattle when the Boeing 787 had an oil filter issue resumed their trip Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.

The airline put about 200 passengers in hotels Tuesday night and they took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Wednesday morning on another 787, spokeswoman Mary Ryan said in an email.

There's no further information about the oil filter or aircraft maintenance, she said.

Flight 139's problem Tuesday was "completely unrelated to any battery issues," Boeing spokesman Kate Bergman told The Seattle Times.

United put its 787s back in the air on domestic flights May 20 after smoldering batteries on two 787s owned by Japanese airlines prompted authorities to ground the planes in January. United resumed international flying June 10 with Denver-to-Tokyo service as well as temporary Houston-to-London flights. It's adding flights to Tokyo, Shanghai, and Lagos, Nigeria, in August.

Those long international flights are the main reason the 787 exists. Its medium size and fuel efficiency are a good fit for long routes.

Boeing Co. has been winning orders at the Paris Air Show from United and other customers for the original model and a newly launched stretch version, the 787-10. Its competition from Airbus is the new A350, which also uses lightweight materials and new engine technology to cut down on fuel consumption.

United remains the only U.S.-based airline to fly the 787.

The problems with lithium-ion batteries caused no injuries but disrupted schedules at the affected airlines. Boeing never did figure out the exact cause of the battery trouble but redesigned the battery and its charger.

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