Air India expects interim report on Boeing 787 Dreamliners in two days

Air India expects interim report on Boeing 787 Dreamliners in two days
New Delhi Air India expects an interim report from Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in a day or two on their probe into the technical problems faced by Boeing's 787 Dreamliner aircraft, all 50 of which have been grounded across the globe.

"We expect at least a preliminary or an interim report from the manufacturer and FAA in a couple of days, which might show us the way ahead," airline sources said in Delhi. Air India has grounded six of these planes in its fleet.

Once a report is received, the corrective measures that need to be taken by aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the national carrier would become clear and "we can move forward to handle the problem", they said.

The entire 50-strong global fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, including six of Air India, were grounded yesterday after US regulator FAA asked airlines to stop their operations temporarily till a battery fire risk was corrected.

Asked whether Air India would be seeking compensation from the US aircraft maker regarding the losses it would suffer due to the grounding of these planes, the sources said compensation was an issue but the airline was not considering it right now.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said Air India would be entitled to "some compensation" but "this can be discussed with Boeing when the time comes... These problems will entitle Air India some reimbursement but first let us get some clarity on the problem."

Asked whether there would be any move to prune the orders for 27 B-787s, he said, "No. First let us get some clarity as to what is the problem, how long it will take to rectify it."

He said most of the orders of Boeing are for these planes, numbering around 800. "They have worked over ten years to develop this aircraft."

Technical checks on the lithium ion battery, which powers the Boeing-787 Dreamliners, are being carried out in the US by the aircraft manufacturer, the airline sources said, adding that if the lapses cannot be corrected, replacing the battery could be looked into. The new batteries would also have to be certified and approved by FAA and DGCA, they said.

However, replacing batteries in the aircraft might take about a month, they said, adding that Air India needed to change the batteries in six aircraft it has in its fleet now.

They said they had been informed that the batteries were undercharging. This was leading them to heat up and swell in size, affecting the electrical and wiring systems and, thereby, causing sparks and fire.


Story First Published: January 18, 2013 17:51 IST

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