50-strong global fleet of Dreamliner grounded
New Delhi: The entire 50-strong global fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, including six of Air India, were grounded on Thursday as US regulator Federal Aviation Administration asked airlines to cease operations of these planes temporarily till a battery fire risk was corrected.
After a battery fire incident in Japan on a Dreamliner yesterday, the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive to address the problem requiring all "operators to temporarily cease operations. Before further flight, operators of US- registered Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the FAA that the batteries are safe."
The American aviation regulator said in a statement that it would "work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the US 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible."
However, no time-line was given as to by when these high -tech aircraft would be able to take to wings again.
While United Airlines, the only US carrier now flying the Dreamliner, grounded its six planes, Air India also ceased flights of six of these aircraft currently in its fleet.
"When the FAA issues an airworthiness directive, it also alerts the international aviation community to the action so other civil aviation authorities can take parallel action to cover the fleets operating in their own countries," an FAA spokesperson said.
Following the FAA directive, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) advised Air India to ground its Dreamliner fleet with immediate effect.
"Certainly, we will not fly the Dreamliner until the FAA and our own DGCA give clearance," Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh told reporters here.
The DGCA was in touch with FAA and "what I know is that Boeing has to come with a plan for the FAA to test all the electrical system and batteries. When that plan comes up, we will also test them but basically first FAA has to approve that they are safe to fly."