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