Stung by persistent snags in its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, Air India (AI) has summoned a team of Boeing engineers to India ahead of the state-of-the-art aircraft’s planned maiden flight in AI’s Delhi-London route on December 2.
“A team of engineers from Boeing are expected to come to India shortly to sort out the snags. We are in regular correspondence with Boeing on this matter,” said an Air India spokesperson from Mumbai.
The first of AI’s Dreamliners arrived on September 8 and since then two more of these next generation flying machines have joined AI’s fleet.
But the futuristic aircraft, which came after a delay of almost four years, have been plagued by what sources have described as “teething problems”.
In one of its first flights from New Delhi to Bangalore in September, the cooling system of the Dreamliner failed. The plane, which was taxiing for take-off was forced to return back to the bay following the glitch, resulting in a delay by about two hours.
At any given point in time, at least one of the three Dreamliners in AI’s fleet currently, is reported to be grounded due to some technical snag. This has affected
AI’s 787 scheduling for the domestic sector with delays becoming a routine in most sectors where the aircraft has been deployed.
Boeing did not respond to HT's email and text messages.
AI operated its first long haul flight with the new Dreamliner aircraft from Delhi to Frankfurt in October. Till now these aircraft, configured to accommodate 256 seats —18 Business Class and 238 Economy Class seats — were being deployed on the domestic sectors apart from operations between Delhi and Dubai.
According to the original schedule, the first 27 Dreamliners that AI had ordered, was to be delivered in September 2008 followed by one each in each of the subsequent months.
Sources said the Dreamliners are overweight by around 7.5 tonnes, from its initial design. The extra weight is also likely to reduce the fuel efficiency than what was originally perceived, sources said.
AI had demanded a compensation of around $850 million (about Rs. 4,600 crore) from Boeing. The final amount, negotiated by the two sides, has not been disclosed.