The national carrier dismisses recent incidents as small technical matter

Air India has ruled out grounding or discontinuing Boeing’s Dreamliner 787, asserting that the aircraft has no safety issues.

Dismissing as a small technical matter the recent incidents involving the Dreamliners, Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rohit Nandan said that there were no plans to ground the fleet or discontinue the operations.

At a press conference here after the inaugural of the air show on Wednesday, Mr. Nandan said the incidents related to software or small technical matters and Air India’s engineers were competent to handle them. Both Boeing and Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) reviewed and assured that no safety issues were involved.

The despatch reliability of Air India’s Dreamliner was 98.6 per cent and higher than the world average of 98 per cent. Air India had detailed discussions with Boeing and was satisfied with the services. A committee had been constituted to look go into the issue and the aspect of compensation would be decided after receipt of its report, Mr. Nandan remarked.

Dinesh Keskar, senior vice-president, Asia-Pacific and India (sales), Boeing, said Dreamliner was an important aspect of Air India’s turnaround plan and the airline operates over 700 flights of Dreamliner a month.

“You hear about one or two of them and not about 698 others,” he said, taking a dig at those making a big issue out of the Dreamliner’s efficiency. The latest addition to the airline’s fleet was on display at the India Aviation-2014 show.

Mr. Nandan said henceforth all orders of Air India would be through leasing, which meant that there was no need to seek clearance from the government. The airline was also planning to replace ATRs and A-320s.

Ashok Lavasa, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, said the government would seek a review in a month or two of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) downgrading of India’s aviation safety rating to category 2. The review would be sought after one of the processes required — the recruitment of 75 flight operations inspectors — was completed.

On plans to review safety standards in the wake of the missing of Malaysian airlines Boeing 777-200 plane, he said safety measures followed in India were as per global convention. “I am sure the authorities continuously review their procedures,” he remarked.

The new Civil Aviation Authority Bill, containing amendments suggested by the Parliamentary Standing Committee was cleared by the Union Cabinet but could not taken up in the last session of Parliament.

More In: Hyderabad