Mumbai: Air India suffered a double whammy once again when two of its Dreamliners reported serious faults just before take off from here for Birmingham and Sydney and had to be grounded, airline sources said today.
The two Boeing 787s, which were to take off for their destinations just 10 minutes apart yesterday, had to be replaced with new planes which flew the passengers to their respective destinations, they said. Last week too, two of the airline's Dreamliners, one set to launch its Moscow operations and the other to Singapore, had suffered technical problems almost simultaneously. Dreamliner, operating flight AI- 302 to Sydney with 246 people on board, was grounded after a suspected snag in the engine.
Another aircraft was arranged for the stranded passengers and the flight, slated at 1325 hours, left three hours later. Another Boeing 787, operating AI-113 to Birmingham with 126 passengers on board, experienced trouble when it was taxiing for take-off as the crew found that one of the doors had not shut properly.
The aircraft returned to the bay and efforts by engineers to shut the door failed, forcing replacement of the airplane, the sources said, adding that the passengers were deplaned and another aircraft was deployed to fly them. The flight, scheduled to depart at 1335 hours, was delayed by 90 minutes. The officials said a decision was taken to deploy other planes was taken as rectification of the faults would have taken much time and the Flight Duty Time Limitation (FDTL), which are stringent rules of flight duty hours for pilots and cabin crew, would have got in to play.
This would have led to deployment of new sets of cockpit and cabin crew to operate the flights, they said. According to data furnished in Parliament, out of a total of 9,902 take offs of Air India's Dreamliners between 2012 when it was inducted till June, 318 flights have suffered "service delays attributed to technical snags".