Air India's Dreamliner Resumes Service
Monday, 27th May 2013 at 08:43am
Air India wasted no time as it immediately relaunched its Dreamliner flights on Wednesday since FAA gave a green light to the state-of-the-art airliner to fly again in April 28.
To recall, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered all Dreamliners grounded in January 16 , 2013, following a series of problems involving the airliner's batteries and a few other technical glitches.
The FAA ordered the Boeing company in April to modify the battery design of the airliner which had been the cause of most problems.
Air India was glad upon hearing the news that the ban was finally lifted on the Dreamliners. Its chairman, Rohit Nandan, admitted they consider the airliner as a game-changer pinning their hopes on it to improve their revenues after successive years of losing streak.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation approved the resumption of flights of the Dreamliners on Tuesday, May 14, or a little more than two weeks since FAA lifted the global ban.
Air India is confident it will be able to shed off losses and eventually make profits with the deployment of Dreamliner jets in most of its major routes. The state-owned carrier has been accumulating losses since the year it merged with Indian Airlines. Since then, newer and privately-owned airlines lured away its customers for its innovative products and services coupled with younger planes in their fleet.
The B787 will also replace the airline's aging B777 fleet enabling the airliner to be its flagship equipment in the years to come. Mr. Nandan said that they still don't know what to do with the older but equally wide-body B777 aircraft after they are retired from service.
The airline relaunched a couple of flights on Wednesday and also inaugurated a Dreamliner service to London on May 22. According to the airline's spokesman, G.P. Rao, the Dreamliner service to Frankfurt and Paris will follow suit in the next few weeks.
He further claimed that the flights to the two European destinations were overbooked.
Air India placed orders of 27 Dreamliners in 2006 in addition to 41 others, all of them Boeing aircraft. It started to take delivery of its Dreamliner jets in September last year with a single aircraft but now has six B787s already in its fleet. The remaining 21 Dreamliners will be delivered in batches between now and 2016.
Air India used to lord over the Indian skies but now it hasn't only accumulated losses but also loses its huge market share to younger airlines.
It has continued to pile up losses since its merger with Indian Airlines in 2006. It was saddled with an estimated $8.3 billion debt when the government bailed it out.
By: Pete Lee.