Saturday, January 19, 2013

Air India’s bad dream

After a day’s delay Air India has finally grounded its six Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which were expected to be the stars of its turnaround story. AI acted only after the DGCA, as per a directive from the US Federal Aviation Administration, ordered that the planes be grounded. There had been two incidents of “smoking batteries” in two weeks and despite Japan, Europe and South America grounding Dreamliners, AI continued to keep them airborne obviously out of necessity.

The Dreamliners were star-crossed from day one not only for AI but for Boeing too. The aircraft billed as a design marvel, was bogged down by delays, cost overruns and technical problems. There is a theory that in its hurry to make up for lost time Boeing neglected some aspects.

It had to compensate Air India for delivery delays and now it may have to pay more compensation. Poland has already asked for compensation and it is hoped that India loses no time in doing so. Aviation minister Ajit Singh is in wait-and-watch mode while Air India is losing with each day’s delay. AI was planning new flights but will have to put them on hold until Boeing rectifies the faults in the batteries that reportedly contribute to making the plane 20 percent more fuel-efficient than its competitors.


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