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AI Dreamliner passengers have another nightmarish experience

Last updated on: November 05, 2013 18:43 IST

AI Dreamliner passengers have another nightmarish experience

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Air India's trouble with its newly-acquired fleet of Dreamliners seems unending as one of these planes from London landed here under emergency conditions after warning lights blipped in the cockpit panel indicating problems with its brakes.

The incident came hours after another of its state-of-the- art Boeing 787s gave a scare after one of the windshields in the cockpit cracked while landing at Melbourne on Monday.

The latest in the string of incidents involving the Dreamliner, flight AI-116 from London to Delhi carrying 174 passengers and ten crew members, made a landing under emergency conditions at the IGIAirport on Monday after warning lights blipped.

The pilots, adopting precautionary measures, sought emergency landing as they approached the airport, Air India officials said, adding the aircraft landed safely on Runway 28 at 0222 hours, the officials said.

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Photographs: Reuters

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The aircraft was checked later but no fault was found in the brake system, officials said suspecting that there could be some glitches in the electronic panel.

DGCA sources said the aviation regulator was awaiting the probe reports from Air India on the two incidents.

The Civil Aviation Ministry, DGCA as well as Air India were in close touch with US aircraft manufacturer Boeing. A Boeing team, stationed in India, was coordinating with the maintenance and engineering staff of Air India.
A Boeing spokesperson said the US aircraft manufacturer was "aware of the in-service issue and we're working with Air India on the matter."

She said the Dreamliners were fit to fly but refused to elaborate any further when asked about the aircraft facing frequent glitches.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Quoting latest reports, the officials said the cracked windshield was being replaced by a new panel and the aircraft was expected to return from Melbourne on Wednesday.

A top official, requesting anonymity, said all problems relating to the new aircraft like the cracked windshield, a panel falling off from the aircraft's belly or the over-heating of an oven, were "unrelated" to each other and "not major safety concerns."

It would have been a cause of concern had these incidents been related, the official said, giving the example of grounding of all Dreamliners across the world for four months

after the January battery-fire incidents in two aircraft operated by Japanese carriers.

A senior Air India pilot, who too refused to be named, said the glitches were "teething problems as the aircraft has been bought almost off the designing board. The plane is safe and sound."

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Image: Boeing 787
Photographs: Reuters

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He said cracks in the windshield of the dreamliner can happen in any aircraft, even in the Airbus series, due to variances in temperature, air pressure or even electrical malfunctioning.

The pilot said new procedures for flying, maintenance and engineering were already in place for operating the Boeing 787s, nine of which are currenly in Air India's fleet. The airline has ordered 27 Dreamliners and the remaining 18 are to be delivered by 2015.

Two weeks ago after a panel fell off from the aircraft's belly in Bangalore, Boeing's senior vice president (Sales, Asia-Pacific and India) Dinesh Keskar had said, "we are concerned about the problems with Dreamliner. It's a machine, we did our best to design it but something like this happens. But I must state that it is a safe plane, it has never caused issues with the safety of passengers."

Boeing officials claimed that the Dreamliner was currently the most technologically-advanced airplane. Its light carbon fibre body provides greater fuel efficiency, making longer routes possible with less fuel burn, they said. 

 


Photographs: Reuters

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