Sep 13: National carrier Air India is apparently left with no option than to ground some of its Boeing Dreamliner aircraft. The debt-laden carrier has been affected with shortage of spares and flight crew, forcing the airline to keep some of the aircraft in its Dreamliner fleet on the grounds.
Air India has a total of 27 Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner aircraft in its fleet, of which three are completely grounded due to lack of spares. Another three among the remaining aircraft are being used only on a rotational basis. In effect, the airliner is operating only 21 Boeing Dreamliner aircraft on a daily basis.
The Dreamliner 787 is being used by the airline for carrying out services to regions including Europe, Singapore, Japan, Australia, China, Thailand, Israel South Korea and Dubai. The 256-seater aircraft is also used for servicing across key domestic trunk routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Kolkata.
Recently, ICPA, an association of Airbus pilots in Air India, had alleged that as many as 19 Airbus 321 aircraft were left grounded due to lack of spares, causing a severe dent in the revenue to the carrier. Besides, lack of operation of the aircraft had also forced for flight cancellations according to ICPA.
As per the letter sent by the association to the airline chairman, around 23% of Air India fleet was grounded due to lack of spares, translating to aircraft worth Rs 25,000 crore lying idle in the hangars. Air India hasn’t yet addressed the spare issue, with the carrier bringing up common maintenance practice as the reason for the grounding of planes.