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Dreamliner snags worry Air India

New Delhi, Jan. 11: Air India launched its latest Dreamliner flight to Paris yesterday even as Boeing’s latest offering reported snags in locations abroad, forcing the national carrier to rethink its remaining Dreamliner purchases till the glitches are resolved.

The national carrier and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) are closely monitoring the situation. However, the aviation regulator has not ordered any evaluation of the Dreamliners owned by Air India.

“We are awaiting the detailed inquiry report into the Boston (fire) incident. As of now we have not given any orders to Air India. In the recent case we are particularly interested to know about the battery snag causing electrical problems, to understand if it is a one-off incident or could be something that would cause problems for Air India’s B787s as well,” Director-General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra told The Telegraph.

On Monday, a fire started in the battery pack of an auxiliary power unit of a Japan Airlines 787 as the plane sat on the tarmac at Boston’s Logan International Airport. There were no passengers on board.

On Tuesday, a leak in the engine forced another B787 to stall its flight from Boston.

A brake problem on a Dreamliner forced All Nippon Airways (ANA) to cancel a flight from Yamaguchi Ube Airport on Wednesday.

Today, in two separate incidents, ANA reported that a domestic flight from Tokyo developed a crack on the cockpit windscreen, though it managed to land safely at Matsuyama airport in Japan. The airline added that oil was leaking from an engine of another 787 Dreamliner after the plane landed at Miyazaki airport in southern Japan.

According to DGCA officials, the Dreamliner uses electrical power to run on-board functions such as hydraulics and air conditioning. The lighter weight makes the 787 more fuel efficient, a big advantage for airlines battling high jet fuel costs.

The system uses high-voltage distribution panels and powerful batteries such as the one that suffered the snag in Boston.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration has decided to conduct a review of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner power system. It is also likely to examine the design and the quality of manufacturing of the aircraft.

Last month, United Airlines and Qatar reported electrical problems in Dreamliners.

Till now, the DGCA has not taken any decision to stop inducting Dreamliners or grounding in-service aircraft.

Top Air India officials have also refused to confirm or deny whether the airline was putting the remaining purchases on hold.

In August last year, Air India grounded one Dreamliner after its front cargo door would not shut.

Again in September, a cooling unit, meant to prevent the power generating equipment of the aircraft from being overheated, malfunctioned on a Dreamliner in Delhi.

Air India has received six B787-Dreamliner aircraft so far with the last plane having arrived in Delhi on January 4.

Besides Paris, Dreamliners now fly from Delhi to Dubai, Frankfurt and on some domestic routes. Air India is committed to buy 27 of these jets over a period of six years.

 
 
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