For the first time since merger of Indian Airlines into Air India, the national carrier is likely to report an operating profit of about Rs six crores in the current fiscal, owing to a combination of factors including lower fuel costs and Dreamliner operations, among others.
Faced with frequent grounding of its "game changer" Dreamliner Boeing 787-800 aircraft due to glitches, national carrier Air India is likely to hold a meeting with Boeing officials here next week to discuss the issue, sources said Wednesday.
Air India has so far acquired 18 Dreamliner aircraft costing over USD two billion or about Rs 12,700 crore and spent more than Rs 97 crore on their maintenance since 2012-13, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said Monday.
The state-run airline had placed orders for 68 aircraft with Boeing in January, 2006, including for 27 Dreamliners and 41 B-777s and B-737-800s. It had taken the delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner in September, 2012.
Air India is proposing to shift from sale and leaseback to outright purchase of 15 of the 27 Dreamliner aircraft it has ordered, in a bid to save about USD 225-300 million as part of the turnaround plan.
Air India's spate of trouble with its Dreamliner fleet continued Friday as the airline was forced to cancel its Melbourne-Delhi flight and delay the departure of its Singapore-Chennai service by over six hours.
In yet another incident of rodent menace onboard flights, a rat briefly distracted the attention of a pilot of an Air India flight enrouted to London from New Delhi. The unprecedented incident reportedly took place when the pilot of the flight spotted a rat under the rudder pedal in the cockpit.
Air India suffered a double whammy once again when two of its Dreamliners reported serious faults just before take off from here for Birmingham and Sydney and had to be grounded, airline sources said today.
BoI has given a stand-alone loan of USD 200 million for three of these airplanes, the sources said, adding that BoI and the State Bank of India have earlier taken a share of financing aircraft purchase.
The national carrier's capacity is expected to grow by 9.2 percent with the addition of six more Boeing 787 Dreamliners to the fleet, they said. As of February this year, the airline has 13 Dreamliners in its fleet out of a total order of 27.