Crew shortage, tech issues ground six A-I Dreamliners
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.