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Air India to resume Dreamliner flights today

Air India would resume domestic operations of grounded Dreamliners planes from Wednesday and their global flights from 22 May with the government on Tuesday saying the airline would cut costs to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore in the current financial year.

While monetisation of its assets in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Coimbatore alone would generate additional funds Rs 1,000 crore, oil companies are expected to provide concessions of Rs 500 crore to Air India.

The airline would generate an additional revenue of over Rs 500 crore through slashing of staff costs, savings from interest on loans and working capital and booking agency commissions.

'The first commercial flight of the Dreamliner will start on Wednesday from Delhi to Kolkata.

Out of six of these Boeing 787 planes, two have been already modified following the battery fire incidents,' Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told reporters here.

He said the first international flight of the Dreamliner would be launched from 22 May. The national carrier would begin full-scale global operations with these planes from Delhi to Birmingham and Sydney-Melbourne from August, Rome and Milan from October and Moscow from early next year, the Minister said.

The remaining four of the total six Dreamliners with Air India now, would become operational by this month end, Singh said, adding another eight of these aircraft would be delivered by Boeing by December, taking the total to 14. The airline has ordered a total of 27 Dreamliners.

The B-787s have remained grounded since 17 January after a fire in the lithium-ion batteries of a parked plane in Boston and a case of forced landing of another B-787 for the same reason in Japan.

The Minister refused to divulge the amount of compensation the US aircraft manufacturer would give to Air India but said the airline has set up an internal committee to talk to Boeing on the issue. The Minister had earlier said that the US aircraft manufacturer has agreed to compensate Air India for the battery problem. Boeing has since worked to develop new battery casings to prevent a repeat of the incidents of overheating of batteries providing auxiliary power.
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