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AI sets up committee to assess Dreamliner’s fuel efficiency

AI sets up committee to assess Dreamliner’s fuel efficiency
Air India has set up a committee to review the performance of its Boeing-787 Dreamliner planes following instances of aircraft not meeting the 20 <g data-gr-id="48">per cent</g> fuel efficiency as claimed by the manufacturer. The committee has been told to submit its report by next month and based on its findings, the airline would take a call to seek compensation from Boeing Co, a senior civil aviation ministry official said on Thursday.

Air India currently has 20 Dreamliners in its fleet of 130 aircraft. “The airline has formed an internal panel, which would assess the fuel efficiency of these Dreamliner planes. The committee would submit its report by July,” the official said. The decision was taken after the airline came across instances of the aircraft not meeting the fuel efficiency as claimed by Boeing.

Boeing had claimed that the aircraft burns 20 <g data-gr-id="36">per cent</g> less fuel. The state-run airline had signed a deal with the US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co in 2005 to acquire 68 planes, of which 27 were Boeing 787-800 (Dreamliner).

The rest 41 were Boeing 777s (23) and 737-800 (18). Air India has already inducted 20 Boeing 787-800 in the fleet, the remaining seven would be delivered by mid-2016 by the manufacturer. “Air India would take <g data-gr-id="55">call</g> on seeking compensation from Boeing after it receives the findings of the committee,” the official said.

Meanwhile, Air India has asked the Government to “reconsider” the proposed easing of 5/20 rule which will help new airlines to fly overseas without serving much on domestic routes, saying the move will be “detrimental” not only for the national carrier but also against the other established players.

According to sources, senior airline officials met the Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey today and told the Government that the regulation, allowing a new Indian carrier to fly abroad should be framed in a manner, which does not compromise with the “passengers’ safety” and financial viability of the airlines.

The meeting comes ahead of the scheduled deliberations of a Rajya Sabha-Committee on Government Assurances on the issue in Srinagar tomorrow, they said. The present regulation, popularly known as 5/20 rule, mandates Indian carriers to be in operation domestically for at least five years and have a fleet of 20 aircraft to become eligible to fly on international routes.

At present, budget carrier GoAir, which had started operations in November 2005, is the only domestic airline among the old players, which is not eligible for overseas operations as it does not have 20 planes.

The Government, however, is in the process of doing away with such a norm and has proposed a complicated formula replacing 5/20, in which domestic flying credits would still be needed for new airlines to fly overseas.

As per the proposed norms, a new airline would be eligible to apply for international operations once it has operated on domestic routes and deployed capacity equivalent to at least 200 domestic flying credits (DFCs). 

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