Indecision has Air India losing Dreamliners on Japanese, Korean routes

Aug 18 2013, 16:53 IST
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SummaryState-owned Air India's plan to operate a Dreamliner on the Delhi-Tokyo route could not take off as the airline's management failed to furnish the required information about the aircraft sought by the Japanese authorities, sources said.

State-owned Air India's plan to operate a Dreamliner on the Delhi-Tokyo route could not take off as the airline's management failed to furnish the required information about the aircraft sought by the Japanese authorities, sources said.

Consequently, the airline could not begin operating the Delhi-Hong Kong-Osaka and the Delhi-Hong Kong-Seoul routes with the same aircraft, they said.

"The civil aviation authorities of Japan had sought certain documents from Air India on the modifications carried out in the aircraft it intended to operate. But despite repeated communications, the AI management failed to furnish the required information," Air India sources told PTI.

As a result, the Japanese aviation authorities did not allow Air India to operate the aircraft.

Air India spokesperson was not available for comments.

"Moreover, agitated over the AI's management unresponsive attitude, the Japanese also decided not to interact with Air India and communicate only with the DGCA," they said.

Earlier, Air India had planned to fly the Dreamliners on the Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong and Seoul sectors from June by replacing the Boeing 777-200 LRs to cut fuel cost and turn these routes profitable.

The airline operates four weekly flights on the Delhi- Tokyo route and three flights on the Delhi-Osaka route via Hong Kong. Besides, it also operates four flights to Seoul via Hong-Kong a week.

At present these routes are loss-making because of seat configuration of the B-777s, which are also being fuel guzzlers. The B-787s burn 20 per cent less fuel.

"Airlines/operators are asked to carry out certain modifications in an aircraft from time-to-time. These modifications are documented in the form of a list. The Japanese civil aviation authorities had been asking for the same from AI, which the airline could not provide. So, they decided to held up the permission," according to sources.

Air India currently has seven B-787 Dreamliners in its fleet and will induct seven more by December. The national airline had placed order for 27 B-787s with Boeing in 2005 along with 23 B-777s and 18 B-737-800s.

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