Grounded Dreamliners to take to the skies

They were grounded on January 16 due to malfunctioning of lithium battery

May 09, 2013 07:14 pm | Updated June 12, 2016 11:09 pm IST - New Delhi

A view of the interiors of Dreamliner which was inducted into Air Inida fleet. A file photo.

A view of the interiors of Dreamliner which was inducted into Air Inida fleet. A file photo.

Air India is all set to resume operating its six B-787 Dreamliners from next week on the domestic circuit and a week later on international routes.

Air India was operating the aircraft from Delhi to Bangalore, Chennai, Dubai, Paris and Frankfurt.

Battery sparks in two Dreamliners of a Japanese airliner led to the grounding of 50 such aircraft on January 16 after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration asked all airlines worldwide to ground Dreamliners.

New battery packs

A team of engineers from Boeing, along with Air India and Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) personnel, has started fixing new battery packs on all six Dreamliners of Air India.

“The Dreamliners have already undergone test flights on the domestic route to check the new battery packs. The test flights, along with pilots and cabin crew, were undertaken from Mumbai to Delhi. In the coming days, several tests flights will be undertaken, including those between Delhi and Amritsar, and observations will be made about take-off and landing in order to ensure that everything is working fine with the aircraft. The DGCA has already given permission to the Dreamliners to take to the skies and lifted the ban on their flying in India,” a senior government official said.

First domestic flight

The first domestic flights are likely to be operated on the Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Bangalore routes. It is understood that Air India has resumed sale of tickets for the routes. Later, the aircraft will be deployed on the Chennai and Dubai routes.

Air India has been banking on the Dreamliner for reviving its sagging fortunes, as it not only ensures more load factor but also saves nearly 15 to 20 per cent on fuel expenses compared to the fuel-guzzling 777s.

It had booked 27 Boeing-787s in a mega deal in 2006. It is supposed to get seven planes in 2013, five in 2014, six in 2015 and three in 2016.

The aircraft is unique – it is made of composite materials.

Its newly-developed engine and advanced flight technologies make it highly fuel-efficient.

It can fly up to 16,000-km non-stop.

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