New Delhi: National carrier, Air India took the delivery of 18 Dreamliner aircraft from US manufacturer Boeing with which it plans to scale up its Birmingham operations.
The aircraft, which took off from Boeing’s Charleston facility in the US on Thursday, landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here at 3 P.M. today, Air India said in a release here. The state-run airline had placed orders for 68 aircraft with Boeing in January, 2006, including for 27 Dreamliners and 41 B-777s and B-737-800s. It had taken the delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner in September, 2012.
The new 787 aircraft will be used to begin daily Birmingham operations, which presently run four times a week, the airline said. Air India now has 18 fuel-efficient Dreamliners in its fleet, which cater to its global destinations across Europe, the UK, Far East, South East Asia and Australia. Besides, some of these planes have also been deployed on domestic routes like Delhi to Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata
The 787 have also a good seat factor of over 75 per cent on some of the routes which resulted in some of its international loss-making routes covering at least their operating costs. AI plans to convert the last five Dreamliners into 787-9, which have a longer range and more seating capacity, the airline said, adding that an internal committee has been asked to look into the proposal and submit an evaluation report.
Meanwhile, the 27-member global airline club, ‘Star Alliance’, of which Air India is now a part, is scheduled to hold its Chief Executive Board meeting in the city from Tuesday. “The two-day meet will review Air India’s performance as an Alliance member besides discussing other issues,” an airline official said.
Air India joined Star Alliance as its 27th member in July this year. Star Alliance, which is the world’s largest airline grouping, offers 18,043 flights a day to over 1,269 destinations in more than 193 countries.