Facing frequent problems with the Boeing Dreamliner planes, the engineers of national carrier Air India have urged the management to not accept any further delivery till the pending issues are resolved. The airline is awaiting six more Dreamliners of the total 27 ordered.
Reportedly, AI is losing money by the day as many planes remain grounded due to snags. The Air India Aircraft Engineers Association recently stated, “The association requests the management to put on hold further deliveries of B787s till all technical problems are resolved to the satisfaction of Air India.”
An internal route economic analysis done by AI in April showed that in the last financial year, the airline lost over Rs 1,800 crore on all international routes on which the state-of-the-art Boeing Dreamliners were operating. It was nearly half of the total loss (Rs 3,900 crore) incurred by the carrier on international routes during the period. The losses are worrying, as the Dreamliner was an important part of AI’s turn-around plan.
The carrier is reeling under a debt of over Rs 44,000 crore and is dependent upon the state grant for funds. Sources said the Dreamliners were ordered because the manufacturer had claimed that they were 20 per cent more fuel efficient. Fuel expenditure amounts to over 40% of the airline’s operational cost.
During an interview with dna last month, Dinesh Keskar, senior VP (Asia Pacific and India sales) for Boeing Commercial airplanes, had said that despite some initial snags, the airline management was satisfied with the Dreamliner’s performance. “In fact, I had a meeting with former AI CMD Rohit Nandan a few days ago, and he admitted to me that Dreamliner was now the backbone of their airline’s turn-around plan.”