Air India to resume Dreamliner operations from my 15

New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) National carrier Air India will resume commercial operations of the reinstated Boeing-787 Dreamliner from May 15. The first flights will be between Delhi and Bangalore and Delhi and Kolkata.

The airline will begin the 787 Dreamliner operation first on the Delhi-Bangalore sector in the early hours of May 15 and then on the Delhi-Kolkata route later in the day.

The airline received the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s final airworthiness certificate Tuesday on one of the Dreamliners, which was modified by a Boeing team which is in India.

The technical team from Boeing arrived in India to install a new set of battery systems which was approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“Air India have started the sale of 787 Dramliners tickets for the May 15 schedule between Delhi-Bangalore and Delhi-Kolkata. The airline is confident of achieving over 90 percent passenger load factor on both these routes,” a senior Air India official told IANS.

“As and when we get more aircraft approved, we will first start Chennai operation and then Dubai,” the official said.

According to the official, the airline also conducted a successful test flight on the reinstated Boeing-787 Dreamliner aircraft Thursday.

“This is first of the several test flights on the approved Boeing-787 on the Delhi-Amritsar route. The flight was a success,” the official added.

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.

Buoyed by the aircraft’s performance, the civil aviation ministry asked the airline to explore the possibility of operating it to Bali and Istanbul.

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.

Air India had booked 27 Boeing-787s in a mega-deal in 2006. Air India is supposed to get seven more planes in 2013, five in 2014, six in 2015 and three in 2016.

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.

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])

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