AI’S Mum­bai-jfk non-stop flight may not take off in Oct

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - Neha LM Tri­pathi

Not only are four air­craft grounded, but a heavy in­vest­ment for the com­mence­ment of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions on the route is es­sen­tial. A SE­NIOR AIR IN­DIA OF­FI­CIAL

MUM­BAI: Air In­dia’s (AI) plans to op­er­ate the first di­rect flight be­tween Mum­bai and New York’s John F Kennedy (JFK) In­ter­na­tional Air­port could be de­layed be­cause the air­line does not have the air­craft or the crew to go ahead with op­er­a­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to se­nior air­line of­fi­cials, Air In­dia, which had plans to com­mence the non-stop flight from this month, was plan­ning to use a Boe­ing 777-300ER air­craft to fly to New York on Wed­nes­days, Fri­days and Sun­days. Cur­rently, there are no di­rect con­nec­tions to JFK Air­port from Mum­bai. AI spokesper­son had not re­sponded to HT’S mes­sages and calls till the time of go­ing to press.

A se­nior air­line of­fi­cial said that Air In­dia had not is­sued an of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment for the com­mence­ment of flight op­er­a­tions to JFK air­port. The of­fi­cial said, “Not only are four air­craft cur­rently grounded, but a heavy in­vest­ment for the com­mence­ment of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions on the route is es­sen­tial. The man­age­ment is re­view­ing in­tri­cate de­tails.”

Air In­dia has 16 Boe­ing 777 planes, of which four are cur­rently grounded, be­cause of un­avail­abil­ity of spare parts.

In Au­gust this year, the pi­lot’s union of erst­while In­dian Air­lines (which merged with AI) in a let­ter to the air­line’s chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Pradeep Kharola, said around one-fourth of Air In­dia’s fleet has been grounded due to lack of spares. “A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of flights had to be can­celled/resched­uled daily and 40% of the Air­bus A321 fleet was grounded for lack of spares,” the let­ter men­tioned.

The ER (ex­tended range) air­craft has in­creased fuel ca­pac­ity and higher max­i­mum take-off weight (MTOW) and range of over 7,000 nau­ti­cal miles, which makes it ideal for long-haul flights.

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