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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Snag grounds AI Dreamliner in Paris

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 17, 2014
First Published: 00:35 IST(17/3/2014) | Last Updated: 02:17 IST(17/3/2014)

Holi celebration plans of 236 passengers on board a Delhi-bound Air India (AI) Dreamliner flight from Paris will likely be affected as the aircraft on which they were travelling had to be grounded in the French capital on Saturday just before take-off due a problem with the plane’s spoilers.

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AI’s flight AI 142 was scheduled to fly out of Paris late on Saturday and reach Delhi on Sunday morning. "Just before take-off, ground engineers noticed that there was a snag in the spoilers, which meant the plane could not take-off," an AI official said. Spoilers enable the approach to be made at a safe speed for landing and acts as a speed breaker on an aircraft.

The 787, central to AI’s turnaround plans, has been giving sleepless nights to the carrier.

Earlier this month, a Delhi-Birmingham 787 flight was cancelled after the spoilers did not work. In mid-February, a Delhi-Frankfurt flight had to be cancelled due to spoiler trouble. In January, another AI Dreamliner was grounded in Hong Kong for the same reason.

"While we managed to arrange tickets on alternate flights for a few passengers, the majority were provided hotel accommodation. We have sent our engineers on the Delhi-Paris Sunday afternoon flight. This aircraft will bring back the stranded passengers who are likely to arrive in Delhi by 9.30 am on Monday," the official said.

Last week, AI officials had taken up with Boeing the problem of repeated snags that have been plaguing the Dreamliners, the official said.

AI has 13 787’s in its fleet and will add another seven this year.

AI CMD Rohit Nandan was quoted as saying at the Hyderabad Air Show last week that the aircraft "wasn’t living up to its promise".

The plane, AI officials said, is heavier and burns more fuel than what Boeing had promised. .

"For a brand new plane to suffer such glitches is unheard of," an AI 787 pilot said.

According to the ministry,  the aircraft suffered 136 technical problems during September 2012  to November 2013.


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