Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Wednesday said Boeing would compensate Air India for the losses it suffered owing to the grounding of six B-787 Dreamliner planes.

He told journalists that discussions on this matter were likely to be held only after the investigation.

“There will certainly be some compensation for Air India. Let us wait for a while. We will discuss with Boeing only when things settle down. There cannot be a deadline for compensation talks. Safety is more important. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has to certify the planes, so also the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).”

Air India chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan said, “We have an understanding that we will be compensated. We are already operating Boeing 777s on routes which were operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Whatever be the difference between the operating costs, we may get it.”

Better performance

Asked about Air India’s financial performance and cash flow, Mr. Nandan said it had improved considerably. “Despite the grounding of the Dreamliners since January and a two-month strike by pilots last year, we expect to be EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation] positive this financial year. It will be better than what has been projected in the turnaround plan and we hope to declare net profit before 2018,” he said.

He said that if Air India’s financial results were positive, it would be for the first time in the past five years. Between April 2012 and this January, its revenue from passengers increased 8.3 per cent, load factor rose from 68.5 per cent to 71.8 per cent, yield was up 19.2 per cent and the number of passengers carried was higher by 3.4 per cent.

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