AI Dreamliner loses ground contact, Italy scrambles jets
The Italian Air Force had to scramble fighter jets to escort an Air India (AI) Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight from Delhi to Rome last week after the plane lost radio contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) following a failure of its communication system, HT has learnt.
The Air India flight AI 123 had to be escorted safely to Rome airport on October 16 by two Italian Eurofighter Typhoons pressed into service from the Grosseto air base, sources said.
“The plane’s communication system failed and it lost touch with ground control. The pilot has filed a detailed report, which is being examined,” a senior AI official said.
Another official said the pilots switched to another frequency to signal to tell ATC that contact couldn’t be established. “It was an uneventful landing,” the official said. AI spokesperson did not respond to calls, mail and text message from HT.
The Boeing 787s have emerged as a major worry for the already beleaguered airline. Till June, 318 cases of delays were reported due to technical snags in the Dreamliners since their induction in the AI’s fleet in September 2012. Boeing has even offered to replace the windshields of AI’s entire Dreamliner fleet after a spate of windshield cracking incidents.