Air India has been forced to ground all six Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft following an order from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation that was prompted to do so after US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration issued a global advisory to stop 787 operations on Thursday.
Airlines across the world are grounding the plane after the 787 operated by All Nippon Airways had to make an emergency landing on Wednesday due to errors in its instruments because of a faulty battery.
All Nippon Airways immediately grounded all its 787s and Japan Airways also followed suit. Qatar Airways has also grounded the 787 fleet.
“The FAA has issued an advisory to ground the Dreamliners,” said Arun Mishra, director general of civil aviation. “We took a decision after that and as of now there is no clarity on when the 787s will be back in service. Boeing has to satisfy everyone with safety standards,” he added.
Air India had deployed the 787 on Delhi-Paris and Delhi-Frankfurt routes apart from some domestic destinations. Two flights Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Bangalore took off early morning before the order from the DGCA was received.
Air India’s international flights have been clubbed and are being operated on Boeing 777. The Boeing 787 was critical to Air India’s turnaround plan due to its 20% less fuel consumption. It has already issued a tender in an attempt to sell part of its Boeing 777 fleet and replace them with the Boeing 787s.
A senior Air India official said they may consider seeking compensation from Boeing if the delay in getting the planes back in the air lasts too long.
“They had delayed delivery and now this incident puts our plans off track,” said a senior Air India official on condition of anonymity. “As of now we will use the 777s for the 787 routes but certainly this throws a spanner in our plans to reduce costs as 777s consume much more fuel.”
“We will see how other airlines are handling the situation and also take a call soon on whether to ask for a compensation in case the plane is cleared to fly again for a long period of time,” the official added.
Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said that Air India will not fly the Dreamliners till the FAA and DGCA give clearance. “How long it will take, we will all know only in a couple of days,” he told