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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

AI sends brand new 787 Dreamliner back to factory as it fails test flights

Tushar Srivastava , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 17, 2014
First Published: 00:04 IST(17/7/2014) | Last Updated: 01:41 IST(17/7/2014)

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has given Air India (AI) many hiccups but this one might well be the nightmare.

A team of Air India pilots and engineers recently flew to Seattle to conduct test flights of a brand new 787 Dreamliner, supposed to be the national carrier’s 16th.

“The aircraft from the very first test flight started giving problems, the most prominent being a problem with its landing gear,” a senior AI official told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity.

Sources said Boeing engineers tried to rectify the problems, but as the glitches were recurring in the subsequent test flights, the 787 was sent back to the factory. Boeing did not reply to an email from HT .

“Our test pilots flew back since the problem was taking time to rectify but our engineers stayed there. We have now send a senior examiner (examiners are senior most pilots) to carry out further test flights on the aircraft,” the AI official said.

“Boeing is looking into the problem. We won’t take delivery of the aircraft unless it is in a perfect condition,” said another AI official. “It’s very surprising that a brand new aircraft, which is straight out of the factory, is having such problems.”

On July 14, aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told Parliament: “till June, out of the total of 9,902 take offs, 318 instances of service delays attributed to technical snags have been reported” in AI’s Dreamliners.

The Dreamliner was inducted into AI’s fleet in September 2012.

In a major setback for Boeing, within months of its induction, overheating batteries prompted regulators worldwide to ground the entire 787 fleet in January 2013 and flights resumed only in April 2013.

Both AI and Boeing have maintained that there are no safety issues with the 787s.


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