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.
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?
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