Millennium Post

US Boeing must pay for fuel inefficient Dreamliner: AI

Air India has set up a committee comprising its officials and those from the Civil Aviation Ministry and Boeing to collect and analyse fuel consumption data over a period of 18 months.

The compensation package would depend upon the report of this committee, Air India CMD Rohit Nandan said here on Wednesday.

‘As far as fuel efficiency of Dreamliners is concerned, at the time of delivery, they were heavier than what they were supposed to be,’ he said. The heavier an aircraft, more is its fuel consumption.

‘We took a decision that a committee shall be set up consisting of people from the government, the airline and Boeing who, over a period of 18 months, will collect and analyse data as to what is the deviation from the originally promised fuel efficiency,’ Nandan said on the sidelines of the Aviation India show here. ‘The 18-month period will be over around November this year’, he said.

To questions on whether the airline would ground these planes, Nandan said, ‘Air India has got no such plans as of today. It is basically for the regulator to take a view on the matter. We are quite satisfied with the quality of service we have received from this plane.’

In his response, Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president (Asia Pacific and India sales) of Boeing, said, ‘We have got some issues there (regarding Dreamliners) and we are working with them (Air India). On Tuesday, the Dreamliner came to Hyderabad and it was absolutely a delightful and smooth flight. It is a safe airplane.’

Air India, which had placed orders for 27 Dreamliners in 2006, has so far taken delivery of 13 aircraft. It is scheduled to induct another 14 Dreamliners over the next two years. Ever since its induction, the much-touted fuel efficient aircraft from the US aircraft-maker has been giving sleepless nights to the national carrier with frequent groundings due to technical issues.

But Nandan said that as per the information provided by Boeing, the dispatch reliability of the Dreamliner was 98.6 per cent as against the world average of 98 per cent.

Dispatch reliability is expressed as the percentage of flights that take off within a specified time of the scheduled departure time.

Earlier, Civil Aviation Ministry Joint Secretary G Asok Kumar said that Air India has reported above 337 glitches in the aircraft, which was much lower than snags reported by other airlines with the same aircraft.

Moreover, any new aircraft suffers such glitches in the first year or two and ‘these glitches have nothing to do with the safety issue. Boeing is also working on sorting out these glitches’, he added.
Kumar also said that Air India would get Rs 5,500 crore towards capital infusion during the next fiscal, as announced in the interim budget.
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