Air India readies 787 Dreamliner grounded for nine months

National carrier Air India is preparing its second Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner VT-AND for flight after grounding the aircraft in the maintenance hangars for over nine months. The aircraft is recorded to have last flown on new year’s day 2015. Bangalore Aviation has received these exclusive photos.

This is the second case of an Air India Dreamliner being grounded for over nine months. The last one was VT-ANI was grounded for what Air India termed a “reliability improvement retrofit (modification)” from April 2014 to being restored by January 2015.

The common belief in the industry is that Air India was using these two airframes as a parts donor to keep the rest of the fleet flying. However, a check of databases reveals that all of Air India’s Dreamliner’s with the exception of VT-AND are flying on a regular schedule.

Nine months?

Grounding any Rs 800+ crore capital asset for nine months will cost any company a lot of money, and one feels for a financially beleaguered Air India to be hit not once, but twice. At the same time, one is forced to raise this question. Many airlines have received “early build ” 787s. With the exception of Air India to the best of our knowledge no other airline has grounded its 787s for none months for a repair. What is so specially wrong with Air India’s Dreamliners?

Can anyone with knowledge of the matter share what is so wrong with VT-AND that it takes nine months to repair it for reliability? And when one puts the words reliability, repair, nine months and airplane together, it sure raises a lot of questions.

Air India’s new Chairman and Managing Director Ashwini Lohani is in the midst of a revised action plan to turn around the beleaguered national carrier. Can he finally resolve the torrid time the airline is having with its flagship aircraft?

Share your thoughts via a comment.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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  1. VT-AND was assembled and re-worked in Everett, WA. It’s one of 4 Air India’s frames from 2nd production batch (LN20-29), all of these 10 frames were built in Everett.
    LN46 VT-ANI is first 787-8 built in Charleston and it’s frame from 5th production batch (LN45-65, last batch which needed (slightly) re-work to certification standard)

  2. Any news on DEL-MOSCOW AI 155 extension to STO and CPH ? There were some new articles talking about this in June and Air India asking the Russian regulators for fifth freedom at Moscow. Now there is a tender for Crew layover at Moscow starting 1st of November 2015. Anyone has some authentic information?

  3. Do you know when it is slated back into the service?

  4. One would never get straight answers. RTI anyone?