Air India may ask Boeing to pay for pain points in 787

Tags: News

CMD says Dreamliner glitches hurting, but won’t ground them

National carrier Air India, which has faced operational issues with Dreamliner 787, feels Boeing should compensate it for the aircraft missing out on performance, a top official said.

Chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan said a committee had been formed to collect data on various parameters to assess the pain points of the Dreamliner. “The data will be collected over 18 months till November and analysed to judge performance, mainly fuel efficiency. We will then decide on the quantum of compensation we could seek,” Nandan said at India Aviation 2014, Hyderabad.

The CMD ruled out any plan to ground the aircraft, but said Air India believed the planes were heavier than what was originally promised, which could have a bearing on fuel efficiency.

“However, this does not affect the safety of the aircraft in any way,” Nandan clarified and assured that the aircraft would continue to be part of the Air India fleet.

Air India had placed orders for 27 Dreamliners in 2006 but has taken the delivery of 13 so far. It is scheduled to induct another 14 Dreamliners over the next two years.

The Air India chairman said engineers from both sides were working on the irritants. Boeing is upgrading the software of the aircraft. “Most of the fleet has been upgraded and the number of incidents is coming down gradually,” Nandan said, adding that the aircraft has been delivering better “These incidents are not unusual in a new fleet, in a new aircraft,” he said. The CMD pegged the dispatch reliability rate at 98.6 per cent. Dispatch reliability is a measure of performance, which tells whether an aircraft took off on time or not and, if not, the reasons of the delay. Many aim to get this above 99 per cent.

The CMD said Air India had already received compensation from Boeing for delivery delays but refused to put a figure to it. The national carrier has faced technical issues with its Dreamliner fleet over the past year. This has resulted in additional expenditure. In some cases, the airline had to substitute other aircraft on its route, causing additional expenses.

Dinesh Keskar, SVP sales for Apac and India at Boeing, claimed Dreamliners were important in Air India’s turnaround story. “We are hopeful that Air India will register operating profit, when we deliver the last Dreamliner to it. That will be our contribution to India’s aviation and to the airline”.

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