On the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi, Air India commenced commercial service of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner. VT-ANH, performing flight AI403 from Delhi was given the traditional welcome, on its first arrival at Bengaluru International Airport, a water cannon salute by the airport's fire-fighters (ARFF).
The Dreamliner, carrying 173 passengers, touched down around 21:06, delayed by almost two hours late due to a failure of the air-conditioning system just as it was departing Delhi airport.
The aircraft was welcomed by senior officials of Air India, and a delegation from Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), led by Hari Marar, President, Airport Operations. Airside, virtually everyone connected to the aircraft, including engineers from engine manufacturer General Electric were present.
On arrival, the aircraft was given the traditional 'puja' accorded to new vehicles including the flight crew breaking a coconut to ward off evil spirits.
All these ceremonies took a toll on the turn-around time. The Dreamliner departed on its return flight to Delhi around 22:45, nearly three hours late, with 126 passengers on board, along with India's External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna.