Air India (AI) flew some of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft, with no passengers on board, from Delhi to Mumbai after a directive by US aviation regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to stop operations of all such planes.
Ground personnel look on as Air India's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Charleston, USA, arrives at Indira Gandhi International airport's terminal T-3 in New Delhi. The factory fresh 256-seater Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first of the 27 Dreamliners Air India has purchased for their fleet. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN
The aircraft were flown after obtaining permission from the Indian aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The AI grounded all its six Boeing-787 Dreamliner planes after a directive by FAA on January 17. Sources said the AI had sought permission from the DGCA to fly the Dreamliner as the airline has its maintenance facility in Mumbai and also as they were paying high parking charges in Delhi.
The DGCA had granted it permission with strict orders that no passengers travel on board. "Only the two pilots were allowed inside the planes," a DGCA official said.
The grounding of the Dreamliner is a setback for the AI as the aircraft is central to its turnaround plans. Regulators around the world followed the lead of the FAA in ordering an indefinite halt to all Dreamliner operations.
After a battery fire incident in Japan on a Dreamliner on Wednesday, the FAA, which sets the benchmark for aviation standards, issued an emergency airworthiness directive to address the problem requiring all "operators to temporarily cease operations".