Glitch in brakes delays Air India flight AI-104 from Washington. It’s 57 hours late
Flight AI-104, a non-stop service with 133 passengers onboard, was preparing for take-off when the aircraft developed issues with the braking system.Updated: Jan 15, 2020 21:09 IST
An Air India flight from Washington to Delhi, which was scheduled to leave the US capital on Sunday morning, left on Wednesday morning after a 57-hour delay. The flight landed at Delhi at around 7.40 pm on Wednesday.
Flight AI-104, a non-stop service with 133 passengers onboard, was preparing for take-off when the aircraft developed issues with the braking system and returned from the tarmac to the parking bay.
“The engineers and technicians were called for inspection when they learnt that the flight will have to be cancelled as the aircraft could not be operational for the day,” said a Delhi-based official from the airline.
Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar confirmed the delay and said, “The flight was scheduled to depart for Delhi on Sunday but it had to be cancelled due to technical reasons and took off after a delay of 57 hours from Washington.”
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Sources said that the airline had earlier assured passengers that the flight would take off on Monday but a spare part that the aircraft needed did not arrive from India on time, further delaying the flight till Tuesday. “When few of the passengers did not agree to wait for one more day at Washington, more than half of the total passengers were taken to Newark by road and accommodated in Air India’s flight from Newark airport,” airline sources said.
The remaining passengers stayed back and departed for Delhi on Wednesday after the spare part, which was later called from Newark, arrived on Tuesday.
Airline sources said that the flight took off from Washington at 9.40 am (IST) with six business class and 66 economy class passengers.
Though it is not clear whether the problem in Washington was caused by the choice of aircraft. A former airline official questioned the airline’s decision to use a Boeing 787 Dreamliner (smaller aircraft than B-777) for a long haul flight like Washington-Delhi. AI-104 was earlier serviced by B-777 before the aircraft was shifted to the Delhi-London sector. B-777 is more suited for long haul services as the aircraft carries more fuel and is more spacious.
“The airline is operating its Dreamliner because its Boeing 777 aircraft is being used for Delhi-London sector from January 6. The load factor for Delhi-London flight is more than Delhi-Washington. Also, as per few calculations done, it was found that B-777 is feasible for London than B-787, hence the Dreamliner was shifted to operate to The US capital,” said one of the top airline officials.
Air India did not comment on its plan to replace the B-777 with B-787 Dreamliner on the Delhi-Washington route.
Air India has commenced 12 new international routes in the financial year 2019-20. These include: Delhi-Toronto, Mumbai-Stansted (London), Amritsar-Stansted, Mumbai-Heathrow, Mumbai-Doha, Delhi-Doha, Mumbai-Nairobi, Indore-Dubai, Kolkata-Dubai, Mumbai-Dubai, Delhi-Dubai and Mumbai-Kuwait. It has also planned to increase the frequency of its recently added Delhi-Toronto flights from thrice a week to daily departures.