New Delhi: Air India on Thursday grounded all its six Boeing-787 Dreamliner planes after a global directive by US regulator, Federal Aviation Administration, to stop operations of all the 50 such planes delivered so far to various airlines.
The FAA directive was immediately adhered to by aviation regulator of countries whose airlines have so far bought these latest aircraft.
Meanwhile Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said that Air India will not operate its six Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets unless the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gives clearance to operate the aircrafts.
“I directed the DGCA to ground the airlines and look into the problems. We will not operate the dreamliners unless the DGCA and the FAA will not give the clearance,” Singh said on Thursday.
DGCA Arun Mishra also said on Thursday that India has grounded national carrier Air India’s six Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets over the aircraft''s safety after the US Federal Aviation Administration made the same decision.
He further said that there is no clarity on when the Dreamliners will be back in service.
On Wednesday, Japan had grounded 24 Dreamliner owned by two of its airlines-- ANA (All Nippon Airways) and Japan Airlines.
Air India officials said they have grounded all the six planes in its fleet with immediate effect following the FAA directive and the DGCA advisory.
They said that FAA has directed the grounding of the entire Dreamliner fleet till such time as the aircraft manufacturer Boeing "demonstrate compliance" of various measures the American regulator has asked it to carry out.
However, the officials maintained that its services will not be affected in any major way as flights to Paris and Frankurt operated by the Dreamliner will now be serviced by Boeing 777.
While one of the six planes is always on a standby, three are used on the domestic sector and two on international including Paris and Frankfurt, they said, adding that domestic services would be absorbed by the existing fleet of aircraft.
The American aircraft maker had last Friday jointly announced investigations with FAA after three of these aircraft owned by the Japanese carriers suffered glitches this month -- an electrical fire, fuel leakage and a broken cockpit window.
In September last, Air India had also experienced a glitch in its Dreamliner's liquid cooling system and electrical power system, which had led to the grounding of all three of these planes at that time.
After the faults were rectified, these aircraft have been flying regularly on select domestic and international routes.
Regarding the problem of fuel leaks, the Air India officials had said this was not something "unusual as it occurs in all aircraft types. Such problems have to be rectified immediately but these are not anything new or different."
Boeing had designated a team in Delhi for any trouble- shooting for Dreamliners.
Dreamliners, the latest and most technologically advanced offering from Boeing, is made of lightweight composite materials instead of aluminium.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013, 09:13