The first batch of Boeing instructors hired by Air India (AI) to resume pilot drills for the Boeing 787 fleet arrived in Delhi a couple of weeks ago, but their training flights are yet to begin.
The training is needed because Airbus A320 is a single-aisle aircraft while the Dreamliner is a wide-body plane. Both the aircraft also have different cockpits.
The training held up for four months by the grounding of the Dreamliner fleet is further being delayed because the airline has failed to complete mandatory paperwork required by foreign instructors to operate flights in India, said sources. The delay has left at least 30 pilots unused.
According to the airline’s agreement with Boeing, each foreign instructor is paid $2,000 (approximately Rs1.41 lakh) a day, inclusive of perks such as stay in a five-star hotel.
While some clearances were acquired only a couple of days ago, identity cards are yet to be issued. “This is laxness by the airline’s flight training department. Boeing had informed them about the visit of these trainers 15 days in advance. But the airline applied for clearances only after they arrived,” said a senior pilot.
“AI has six in-house B787 instructors who are not used fully and now even the Boeing instructors hired at a premium are being wasted,” said another source.
The AI spokesperson and the airline’s chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan did not respond to HT calls.