AI gets 10th Dreamliner despite turbulence

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 06, 2013 01:37 IST

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh and top Air India (AI) officials will fly down to Delhi from the US in a brand new Dreamliner aircraft — the airline’s 10th — on Wednesday. However, the Boeing 787, that is central to AI’s turnaround plans, continues to give sleepless nights to the airline.

A day after the cockpit windshield of an AI Dreamliner cracked while the plane landed in Melbourne, another 787 flying from London to Delhi made an emergency landing at the IGI airport in the wee hours of Tuesday after warning lights in the cockpit indicated problems with the braking system.

“Pilots of the AI 116 London-Delhi flight contacted the air traffic controller at the Delhi airport and requested for a priority landing. The flight landed around 2.30 am. There were 184 passengers and crew on board,” an AI official said.

“The plane was inspected by engineers and it turned out to be a false alarm. The aircraft flew on Tuesday,” he added. Aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, is probing the incident.

AI officials said these were “teething troubles” that could happen with any new aircraft and they were satisfied with the cooperation extended by Boeing. Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president, Boeing, had said last week that the Seattle-based plane maker had stationed a team of experts in Delhi to assist Air India.

“A cracked screen can happen on any jet so there’s no real way they could have foreseen such an event. It’s just that it happened on a 787 it seems glamorous to highlight because it’s a new jet,” said Saj Ahmad, a London-based aviation analyst.

AI has ordered 27 Boeing 787 aircraft. Sectors like Frankfurt, which were bleeding the airline heavily, have turned cash-positive since deployment of the Dreamliner.

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