Millennium Post

Dreamliner fiasco: PAC to ask Centre to claim compensation from Boeing

A Parliamentary panel is likely to ask the government to take urgent steps to infuse equity in Air India and claim compensation from Boeing for delay in aircraft deliveries as well as grounding of the Dreamliners.

The Public Accounts Committee has concluded deliberations on the performance of the civil aviation sector in the country with specific reference to Air India and is likely to meet soon to adopt a report on the matter.

The committee is learnt to have decided to ask the government to infuse Rs 30,231 crore in an expeditious manner in order to bail out the national carrier, saying it was a matter of paramount importance.

Among several major issues, the panel headed by senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi discussed the global grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in January last year, when Air India had six of them in its fleet.
The four-month grounding caused by the malfunctioning of lithium ion batteries used in the airplane, as well as a series of technical faults later witnessed in the Dreamliners, has led the committee to ask the government to safeguard the interests of Air India in terms of the aircraft's warranty with Boeing.

The panel is also believed to have taken note of the delayed delivery of 50 aircraft by Boeing to Air India, all of which were supposed to have been delivered by October 2011 according to the contract. However, only eight Boeing 777-200 LRs, 12 Boeing 777-300 ERs and eight Boeing 787-8s were delivered till September 2013. The committee is understood to have pointed out that the contract agreement was loaded against the buyer and has decided to ask the government to take immediate steps to safeguard Air India's interests.

The panel also discussed the route dispersal guidelines and the air services agreements with various countries, especially the Gulf, and sought level playing field for the national carrier. It is understood to have recommended immediate corrective measures in the guidelines and the agreements to protect the commercial interests of Air India.
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