Air India grounds its 787s after US directive

Boeing 787 Dreamliners grounded

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Thursday ordered the grounding of all six Boeing 787 Dreamliners after a global directive by the US regulator, Federal Aviation Administration, to stop operations of the 50 aircraft that have so far been delivered to various airlines across the world.

The two Japanese carriers, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, have already grounded 24 of these aircraft.

"Following the FAA directive to ground all Boeing 787 Dreamliners till Boeing satisfies the regulator of no safety issue in these planes, we have asked Air India to ground all its Dreamliners. The Dreamliners will not fly till we are satisfied of these planes being safe," DGCA chief Arun Mishra told The Indian Express.

Air India officials said they were making arrangements for the routes on which its Dreamliners were flying, and had requested passengers booked on these flights to check with the airline.

AI operates three international Frankfurt, Paris and Dubai and three domestic Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata flights from Delhi with Dreamliners. A senior AI official said flights to Frankfurt and Paris would be merged and operated by a Boeing 777.

"The flight to Dubai will be merged with various flights we have to the same destination. The flights on domestic routes will also be merged... this should not be a problem since the domestic destinations are connected by multiple flights," the official said.

ANA and JAL grounded all their Dreamliners on Wednesday after an ANA flight made an emergency landing after its pilots smelt something burning and received a cockpit warning for battery problems. On January 7, a similar incident had happened in Boston. The failure of the lithium ion batteries "resulted in release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage and smoke on two 787 airplanes," the FAA said.

Since January 11, the FAA and Boeing have been probing the battery failures, it said, adding "these conditions, if not corrected, could result in damage to critical systems and structures, and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment."

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