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Saturday, April 21, 2012

News of Boeing paying Air India for delay of Dreamliner

The name itself is alluring – the Dreamliner - Boeing's most-anticipated passenger jet - the 787 Dreamliner aircraft.  I had earlier posted about the dream aircraft’s maiden visit and landing at the Capital of India on 13th July 2011.  Read my post :  That was a flight to provide Air India of  first-demo trials on the aircraft.   Air India was to be  amongst the first in the world to receive the modern passenger jet in the fourth quarter of the year.  The dreamliner is from the stables of Boeing - The Boeing Company  is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington.  Boeing is among the largest global aircraft manufacturers.

Boeing boasts of a  long tradition of aerospace leadership and innovation. Boeing is headquartered in Chicago and employs  more than 170,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries.   The touted aircraft,  Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It seats 210 to 290 passengers, depending on the variant. Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficientairliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction. According to Boeing, the 787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized 767. Its distinguishing features include a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour. The 787 shares a common type rating with the larger 777 twinjet, allowing qualified pilots to operate both models, due to related design features.

The aircraft's initial designation was 7E7, prior to its renaming in January 2005. The first 787 was unveiled in a roll-out ceremony on July 8, 2007, at Boeing's Everett assembly factory, by which time it had reached 677 orders.  Boeing had originally planned for a first flight by the end of August 2007  however, in Sept 07, Boeing announced a 3 month delay; in Oct, a second 3 month delay to its first flight.  In Jan 2008, there was announced further delay and in Apr 2008, officially a fourth delay shifting the maiden flight to the 4th Q of 2008. 

In Dec 2009,  Boeing conducted the Dreamliner's maiden flight with the first 787-8, originating from Snohomish County Airport in Everett, Washington and landing at Boeing Field in King County, Washington.   On July 4, 2011, All Nippon Airways began a week of airline operations testing using a 787 in Japan and in the same month the airline visited Delhi

Earlier,  Indian Carrier, Air India was to be  among the first to get delivery of the long-range Dreamliner.  The national carrier  was reported to have ordered 27 Dreamliners as part of total orders for 111 planes, split between Boeing and Airbus. The dream is not yet true and the aircraft has not been delivered as yet, the delay is attributed to technical snags in developing the aircraft.  There were to be further delays and AI is now expected to get aircraft in May with reports that further delay in delivery of the aircraft would bring the compensation to just under $1 billion.

Some newspaper reports in India reported that Boeing had agreed to pay Air India a $500 million compensation for the four-year delay in delivery of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft. There was also the news that  the US company said the announcement was news to it.  Dailies had quoted Govt Joint Secy  (civil aviation),  as telling  journalists after the inauguration of the India Civil Aviation Air Show in Hyderabad that the US company had said it would pay the amount on the long delay in delivering the 27 Boeing 787’s the government carrier had ordered.   The denial of Boeing, broadcast on the internet, too, put a stop to calculations on how the amount would come very handy in staunching the government carrier’s flow of red ink.   There are further reports that negotiations for the compensation have been on for quite a while and the government was learnt to have pressed for $1 billion. AI had placed an order for 27 Boeing 787s and was to get these from 2008. Boeing had then committed to delivery in October-December 2011, but that didn’t happen, too.  AI is in a severe financial crisis and is still awaiting the government’s permission to induct these planes. One argument within policy circles is that it would be better to cancel a large part of the number ordered, given the cash crisis of both AI and the government.

It is also read that the total of global orders of Boeing for Dreamliner are 868 and only 5 have been delivered till date all to Tokyo based ANA.

So Dreamliner serving Air India in near future looks a pipe-dream, atleast as of now.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th April 2012.

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