Crew short­age, tech is­sues ground six A-I Dream­lin­ers

Financial Chronicle - - PLAN, POLICY -

AIR-IN­DIA, the na­tional car­rier, is un­der-util­is­ing its flag­ship Boe­ing Dream­liner fleet due to flight crew short­age as well as tech­ni­cal is­sues. Of the 27 Boe­ing 787800 (Dream­liner), only 21 are be­ing de­ployed for op­er­a­tions ev­ery day, an air­line source said.

The 256-seater planes are mostly used for air­line’s Euro­pean op­er­a­tions be­sides ca­ter­ing its ser­vices to Sin­ga­pore, Ja­pan, Aus­tralia, China, Thai­land, Is­rael, South Korea and Dubai. Be­sides, some of the flights on key do­mes­tic trunk routes like Delhi-Mumbai, Del­hiChen­nai and Delhi-Kolkata are also op­er­ated by the Dream­liner.

“Of the 27 planes, 3 are on ground due to want of spares, while 3 are be­ing used on a ro­ta­tional ba­sis. So ef­fec­tively, only 21 air­craft are in ser­vice on any given day,” the source said, al­leg­ing that the un­der-util­i­sa­tion was due to scarcity of com­man­ders.

When con­tacted, an AirIn­dia of­fi­cial said that only three air­craft were on ground, while the rest 24 planes are ser­vic­ing the var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic routes. Air­line’s Air­bus fleet pi­lots body, ICPA, had last month al­leged that as many as 19 air­craft, in­clud­ing 9 Air­bus A321s, were not in ser­vice due to non-avail­abil­ity of spares and that it was re­sult­ing in a sig­nif­i­cant loss of rev­enue to the car­rier be­sides flight can­cel­la­tions.

“Al­most 23 per cent of the Air-In­dia fleet is grounded for lack of spares. To put this into per­spec­tive, air­craft worth ap­prox­i­mately $3.6 bil­lion (Rs 25,000 crore at to­day’s list price) are ly­ing idle in the hangars,” ICPA had al­leged in a let­ter.

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