New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) Air India will Wednesday resume domestic commercial operations of the reinstated Boeing-787 Dreamliner and international operations by May 22.
As earlier reported by IANS on May 9, the first flight will be between Delhi and Bangalore and the second service will be between Delhi and Kolkata.
The airline had received the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) final airworthiness certificate May 8, after one of Air India’s Dreamliners, was modified by a Boeing team which is in India to install a new set of battery systems approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“The first commercial flight of the Dreamliner will start tomorrow. Out of six (787 Dreamliners), two have been already modified and all operational regulatory requirements have been complied with,” Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told reporters here.
According to Singh, the remaining Dreamliners would become operational by month end and that the airline will receive additional eight 787s from Boeing by the year end.
Air India had booked 27 Boeing-787s in a mega-deal in 2006. Air India is supposed to get five more planes in 2014, six in 2015 and three in 2016.
Singh further said that the airline will operate to new destinations on the 787s starting with Delhi-Birmingham and Delhi-Sydney from August, Delhi-Rome from October and Delhi-Moscow from next year.
Earlier, the airline was operating its six B-787s from Delhi to Bangalore, Chennai, Dubai, Paris and Frankfurt.
The Dreamliner has been instrumental in replacing the fuel-guzzling Boeing-777 on some international routes, thus saving on costs and increasing efficiency.
In January, the DGCA grounded all six Air India B-787 aircraft after an FAA directive to stop operations of all 50 such planes delivered so far to various airlines.
Though Air India did not face any technical problems with the new aircraft, other airlines which operate the B-787 reported the aircraft’s battery system overheating.
The batteries are part of an electrical system that replaces many mechanical and hydraulic ones common in previous jets.
The aircraft is unique as it is made of composite materials. Its newly-developed engine and advanced flight technologies make it highly fuel-efficient. The plane can fly up to 16,000 km non-stop.
Apart from Air India, Ethiopian Airlines, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, LAN (Chile), LOT (Poland), Qatar Airways and United Airlines fly the aircraft.
There are orders for about 800 B-787s in the pipeline.