HindustanTimes Tue,23 Dec 2014

India grounds all 6 Dreamliners after same decision by US, Japan

Reuters  New Delhi, January 17, 2013
First Published: 08:47 IST(17/1/2013) | Last Updated: 15:10 IST(17/1/2013)

Aviation regulator said on Thursday it had instructed Air India to ground its fleet of Boeing Dreamliners following similar orders from authorities in the United States and Japan.


"We have asked Air India to ground all six Dreamliners after getting an advisory from the FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration) citing safety concerns," Arun Mishra, the director-general of civil aviation, said.

Boeing's troubled next-generation model has suffered a series of glitches that have prompted investigations by aviation regulators in Japan and the United States, although Boeing insists the plane is safe.

In the latest incident, an All Nippon Airways flight was forced into an emergency landing in southwestern Japan on Wednesday due to a battery problem.

A file photo showing Air India's first Boeing 787 Dreamlinter aircraft. India's aviation regulator said it had instructed Air India to ground its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners following similar orders from authorities in the United States and Japan. AFP/Raveendran

The FAA grounded all US-registered Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft Wednesday to address a possible battery fire risk and issued a security advisory alerting international aviation authorities.

Mishra said the Indian aviation regulator had no timeline as to when Air India would be allowed to fly the aircraft, long touted as a solution to the airline's loss-making operations.

"We will track the FAA enquiry into the Dreamliner. We can't say when we will allow it to fly again, it depends on when Boeing gives us satisfaction over safety concerns," he said.

The FAA has said it will work with Boeing and US carriers to develop a corrective action plan "to allow the US 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible".

Air India purchased 27 Dreamliners as part of a 2005 multi-billion-dollar project, with the first plane delivered to New Delhi last September. It now has six of the planes and the remaining 21 are expected to arrive by 2016.

A file photo of one of the Air India 787 Dreamliners on the production floor at Boeing's new production facilities. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all US-registered Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to conduct a safety review. AFP/Paul J Richards

Considered a milestone in the aviation industry with its use of lightweight composite materials and electronics instead of aluminium and hydraulics, some 50 of the US aerospace giant's 787s are in service worldwide.

Boeing, which outsourced much of the production to Japanese and other contractors, says the plane's impressive fuel efficiency represents a revolution in aircraft design.

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