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Dreamliner’s nightmare run

New Delhi, July 25: Air India’s Dreamliners are continuing to give it nightmares.

Two of the national carrier’s Boeing B787s, scheduled to take off from Delhi on Thursday afternoon, reported “serious faults” and had to be replaced, causing fliers much harassment and delay.

One Dreamliner was headed to Birmingham and the other to Sydney. They were slated to take off 10 minutes apart but had to be grounded.

Air India sources said Flight AI-302 to Sydney, due to take off at 1325 hours with 246 people on board, was grounded after a suspected engine snag. A replacement plane left three hours later.

The other plane, Flight AI-113 set to take off for Birmingham at 1335 hours with 126 fliers, was taxiing for take-off when the crew found a door not shutting properly.

The plane returned to the bay but efforts by engineers to shut the door failed, sources said. The passengers were then deplaned and the aircraft replaced. The plane took off 90 minutes later.

Trouble with the Dreamliner has dogged Air India since the aircraft was inducted in September 2012. Only last week, two other aircraft had suffered technical problems almost simultaneously.

According to data presented in Parliament, 318 of 9,902 take-offs of Dreamliner flights have been delayed by technical snags till June this year.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) today said the industry would do all it could to beef up aviation safety and security. Three plane crashes this week — in Ukraine, Taiwan and Mali —have killed over 460 people.

“This has been a very sad week for everyone involved with aviation. Every accident is one too many. The greatest respect that we can pay to the memory of those involved is to leave nothing unturned in our quest to understand the cause and to take steps to ensure that it is not repeated,” IATA director-general and CEO Tony Tyler said in a statement.

“With three tragedies in such quick succession, many people will, understandably, be asking questions about aviation safety. Our number one priority is safety. And despite the events of the past seven days, flying is safe. Safeguarding our customers from harm as we transport them around the world is core to the mission of the aviation industry.”

Noting that about 100,000 flights take off daily without incident, he said: “In 2013, more than three billion people flew and there were 210 fatalities. Regrettably, we have surpassed that number already this year.”

The week is being termed as a “black week” for the aviation industry.