An Air India Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft was grounded in Chennai airport on Thursday morning.
The move mirrors similar cautionary measures taken worldwide after a Dreamliner made an emergency landing in Japan on Wednesday following a risk of fire associated with battery failure.
The director general of civil aviation, Arun Mishra, asked Air India to discontinue operation of its six Dreamliners until safety concerns were addressed.
According to an Air India official, the Dreamliner in Chennai was scheduled to leave for New Delhi with 138 passengers at 10.45 a.m. on Thursday.
Following the grounding instruction, the passengers, along with 80 others waiting to board a Bangalore-bound flight, were accommodated in an Air India Airbus 330. It took off to Banaglore at 11.45 a.m. and proceeded to New Delhi from there.
In the following days, an expert committee from Mumbai will arrive in Chennai to conduct tests on the Dreamliner.
The aircraft, said to have been purchased to save an ailing Air India, made its first trip from Chennai to Delhi on September 19 with much fanfare. The Dreamliner boasts a state-of the-art in-flight entertainment system, flat-bed recline, reading lamps, large LCD screens and enhanced gaseous filtration system that lessens dizziness and headache inside the aircraft.
L.S. Arun Baskar who travelled in the aircraft from Chennai to Delhi in November said he experienced much more comfort on the flight.
“There was less noise and that, in itself, made flying in the Dreamliner a good experience,” he said.
The aircraft also scored brownie points for its spacious and comfortable interiors.
“When I wanted to sleep, the increased leg room and foot rests made it much more comfortable,” said Satish Padmanabhan who has travelled in the Dreamliner several times.
An Air India official said technical experts would soon arrive to check the condition of all the aircraft. “Just because some flights developed technical snags doesn’t mean all of them will be faulty. But we want to rule out such a possibility in all Dreamliner aircraft, and hence, the checks,” the official said.