National carrier Air India is the only airline in the country which operates the 787 Dreamliner. Currently, it has six operational 787s in the fleet, which fly international and domestic routes.
“We have received instructions from the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) that all services on 787s should be withdrawn with immediate effect,” a senior Air India official said.
According to the official, four 787s were grounded in Delhi and one each in Bangalore and Chennai where the aircraft flew earlier this morning. “The aircraft has flown from Delhi to Chennai and Bangalore before the warning came in. They had a safe landing. Two more aircraft came in this morning from Paris and Frankfurt without any incident. They too are grounded,” the official said.
The airline operates these aircraft from Delhi to Bangalore, Chennai, Dubai, Paris and Frankfurt. On Sept 19, Air India started the first commercial Dreamliner service between Delhi and Chennai and then followed with the New Delhi-Bangalore route.
According to other Air India officials, the carrier will deploy Boeing 777s on some of the international routes like Delhi-Frankfurt and Delhi-Paris.
The Dubai route may be serviced by 777s or Airbus A321.
When contacted, DGCA said it would wait for the results of the FAA’s inquiry into Boeing’s ability to fix the fire risk, linked to battery failure on board the aircraft.
The move by FAA follows an emergency landing in Japan that prompted two of its major airlines to ground their fleet of 787s, and a similar problem aboard a Dreamliner on the ground in Boston nine days earlier.
The FAA’s emergency directive, issued on Wednesday, initially applied to United Airlines, the only American carrier using the new plane. The airline has six 787s.
The agency said it expected international regulators would take “parallel action”. That would mean grounding of all 50 of the 787s delivered so far.
27 The number of Boeing 787s that Air India booked in 2006 in a mega-deal
6 No of Dreamliners operational in Air India