HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

Two planes grounded as AI’s Dreamliner nightmare continues

Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 18, 2014
First Published: 22:55 IST(18/7/2014) | Last Updated: 02:47 IST(19/7/2014)

The unending glitches plaguing national carrier Air India’s (AI) brand new 787 Dreamliners are sending the airline’s operations into a spin.

On Friday, two of AI’s international flights, including the Delhi-Moscow launch flight, were hit due to technical snags in the Dreamliner, which meant that the aircraft had to be replaced.

AI’s Delhi-Moscow flight, which had on-board senior AI and aviation ministry officials including chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan was to depart at 1.55 am on Friday but took off only at 5.15 am.

The reason: the landing gear door of the 787 got stuck.

“The boarding was done and the aircraft had been pushed back for take-off when it was noticed that the landing gear door just wouldn’t close. Another 787 was arranged,” an AI official said.

In the second incident, AI’s Delhi-Singapore flight, again operated by a 787, had to return immediately after take-off as the plane’s spoilers did not work. Spoilers enable the approach to be made at a safe speed for landing and acts as a speed breaker on an aircraft.

The Singapore flight, scheduled for 12.05 am, departed over four hours later at 4.50 am as the airline arranged another aircraft.

Over 300 technical snags have been reported in the 787s since it was inducted in AI’s fleet in September 2012. After a spate of windshield cracks in the brand new aircraft, Boeing has said it would replace windshields of entire fleet.

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