Air India asks Boeing to pay for second time after Dreamliners flunk fuel test

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: May 30 2014, 06:48am hrs
Air IndiaAir India is seeking compensation from US-based Boeing for the second time over the inability of its new fleet of B787 Dreamliners. Reuters
Air India is seeking compensation from US-based Boeing for the second time over the inability of its new fleet of B787 Dreamliners to meet pre-determined performance guarantees on fuel efficiency. The state-run airline, which has debts of over Rs 40,000 crore, expects to reach an agreement with Boeing by end of the year.

The airline, which will get delivery of the 14th B787 aircraft out of the 27 on order this week, had previously received compensation for delivery delays of the aircraft by over three years. While Air India did not disclose the amount, industry experts said that Boeing would likely have offered discounts on the remaining aircraft.

Boeing has agreed that the weight is higher than what was previously indicated leading to lower fuel efficiency. They have agreed that they could not give the plane as promised. There is a commitment that they will discuss in good faith and will have a positive outlook to our demands for compensation, an Air India official said.

He added, We will take a final call on the compensation after we take delivery of the 18th aircraft by December this year. The fuel efficiency has improved from the 8th aircraft which has more efficient engines and lower weight.

Sources said that the Dreamliner was supposed to be 17% more fuel efficient than the Airbus A-330 but has only been 13-14% better. It was also supposed to be 37% more efficient than the B777 but has been consuming only 28-30% less.

The B787 Dreamliner is a key part of Air India's turnaround plan and the 13 Dreamliners operating on various international routes to Asia and Europe have helped improve profitability. The airline had started inducting the B787 from September 2012, with the 18th plane expected to be delivered by end of this year and the 27th plane expected in March 2016.

Since its induction, Air India's Dreamliners have experienced 44 major engineering snags and 136 minor technical problems. The faults included nine counts of equipment failures, seven flight control issues, six cases of landing gear trouble, four of problems with navigational aids and three windshield cracks.