The DGCA has decided to ground every Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the country and with this move, Air India's dreams of returning as the king of the Indian skies have taken a severe blow, reports CNBC-TV18's, Sunanda Jayaseelan.
Ajit Singh, Civil Aviation Ministersays, "DGCA will go through the systems of Dreamliners and it will not fly till FAA, DGCA clearance". With the FAA and the Civil Aviation Ministry ordering the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to cool off, debt-ridden Air India finds itself in a jam. The airline has 6 Dreamliners in its kitty; three flying on domestic routes, two on international routes, and one usually on standby.
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The airline was expecting 2 more Dreamliners by the end of the fiscal, adding to its total fleet size of 120 aircraft at the moment. There co-sources say there is no change to those deliveries at the moment.
AirIndia was depending on the Dreamliner's significantly higher operational efficiencies. Especially lower fuel consumption over long-haul flights to reduce its debt. That stands at over 43,000 crore rupees. So, with the Dreamliners being grounded till Boeing manages to convince the FAA and the Indian authorities of its airworthiness, Air India's revival plan goes for a toss.
Amber Dubey, Head- Aviation & Partner, KPMG says, "This has indeed come at a very bad time, at a time when Air India is on a resurgence, where their market share is gradually ramping up, their on time performance is going up and general staff motivation level seems to be coming up. Just when things were going right, these sudden setbacks came in".
Jitendra Bhargava, Former ED, Air India says, "I am not sure if AI has put this in its contract but they could get some compensation. I am unable to say how much". For Air India, this is not the first instance of trouble from the Dreamliner. Last September, there were instance of glitches in the cooling system, and even some trouble in the electrical power system.
Now experts are predicting that the aircraft may not return to the skies in a hurry. This means higher capital and maintenance costs for the airline. Meanwhile, Air India can only hope that it gets some compensation from Boeing.