Dreamliner Flight to Tokyo Aborted

tokyoAFP, The Daily Telegraph, July 19, 2013

A Boeing 787 bound for Tokyo was forced to return to Boston on Thursday, from where it had taken off five hours earlier, due to a possible pump problem.

The Japan Airlines (JAL) flight left Boston at 1257pm local time (1657 GMT) but returned to its airport of departure at around 6pm.

"As a standard precautionary measure due to a maintenance message (fuel pump) indicator, JL007 bound for Tokyo-Narita decided to return to Boston Logan," Carol Anderson, a US-based JAL spokeswoman, told AFP.

JAL has faced several problems with the technologically advanced Dreamliner planes since they returned to the skies after being grounded for four months over serious battery issues.

Boston Logan International Airport said on its Twitter site that the 787 made "a precautionary return".

JAL officials in Tokyo also confirmed the maintenance message but dismissed concerns that the incident might signal a new problem for the plane.

"We decided to return for precaution... as a message showing a malfunction of a fuel pump at the right engine appeared in the cockpit," said a JAL spokesman.

Even if the pump was faulty, there was no safety risk as the engine has the function to suck fuel as a back-up option, he added.

"There's no emergency at all in this case. We just wanted to be on the safe side. This has nothing to do with the battery system".

Last week another 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines caught fire at London's Heathrow airport.

JAL and another Japanese airline ANA, which has the biggest fleet of the craft, have experienced around a dozen minor complaints with the 787 since it was allowed to resume flying after being grounded between January and April.

After months of investigations, US authorities in April formally approved changes to Boeing's batteries and Japanese regulators followed suit.

The battery supplier, Japan's GS Yuasa, has voiced confidence that the system will never cause similar problems again.

Edited by Oliver Smith for Telegraph.co.uk