A day after postponing his visit to the U.S. by two weeks to take delivery of the first of the long haul new Boeing 787 `Dreamliner’ aircraft, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Wednesday finally cancelled the ill-timed trip.
``The Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has cancelled the visit of delegation led by him to Seattle and Charleston, USA to take delivery of Dreamliner in view of the on-going problems of Air India, including pilots’ strike and passengers’ inconvenience,’’ a brief statement from the official spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Ministry said here.
The Minister was scheduled to visit to Seattle and Charleston with a delegation of officials and media from May 28-31, 2012 in this connection, the statement said.
The cancellation of Mr. Singh’s visit to the U.S. came within days of The Hindu publishing a news report, questioning the timing, scale and rationale behind his ``Maharaja’’ style visit when the ailing national carrier has suffered losses to the tune of Rs. 200 crore due to the two-week old pilots’ strike and a curtailed international flight schedule.
However, the statement clarified that the first Dreamliner would come to India by end of this month as scheduled. Air India had ordered 27 Boeing 787 `Dreamliner’ aircraft but the deliveries of the new aircraft from Boeing have been delayed by more than two years.