AIR INDIA DREAMLINERS TO BE GROUNDED FOR REPAIRS

NEW DELHI (TIP): US aircraft major Boeing will begin repair work on its snag-prone Dreamliners from Sunday. It will carry out both software upgrades and some hardware replacements in Air India’s B-787s. All airlines globally using the Dreamliner have been facing issues with this brand new plane. “We have 10 Dreamliners. About seven to eight of them will need different amount of work as the newer ones that have joined the fleet recently have those upgrades.We will be grounding our Dreamliners one by one to carry out repairs.

This grounding for repair by Boeing is coinciding with our schedule grounding for normal checks,” said a senior AI official. AI is looking forward to the repairs as software errors have meant that the cockpit gets too many warning signals on this plane. For safety reasons, these warnings cannot be ignored. Almost every time, we have found these warning to be erroneous but this has meant delaying flights and causing passengers’ inconvenience. People rightly expect a flight on a brand new plane to be on time. That unfortunately has so far not been happening with the Dreamliner,” said the official.

There have been instances when aircraft about to take off had to be stopped due to some warning. Coupled with pilot shortage, snags in the Dreamliners have affected AI’s on time performance badly. Ironically, it was banking on the newest aircraft to improve its punctuality. A few months back, the wiring of electric ovens in AI’s Dreamliners was changed following overheating in them. Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked AI to prepare a standard operating procedure to ensure that its Dreamliners stay away from cumulonimbus clouds by at least 50 nautical miles of 80-90 km.

This order came after the US aviation regulator and Boeing warned airlines that some General Electric engines used on the B- 787 and B-747-8 are seeing ice crystal formation while flying through certain clouds and thunderstorms. This is leading to loss of thrust as the passage of the gush of air in the engines is impeded by crystals at the engine’s rear. Japan Airlines has already withdrawn the B-787 from certain sectors like Tokyo-Delhi due to this reason as it says these routes did not allow aircraft the space to fly away 80-90 km from cumulonimbus clouds. An AI official said: “We have issued a company advisory and are analyzing the impact of the latest issue (with the Dreamliner).We are working on DGCA and US regulator’s airworthiness directive.”

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