The windshield of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Air India on the Delhi-Melbourne-Sydney route (AI-311) developed cracks on landing at the Melbourne airport and remains grounded there.
The aircraft had 75 passengers on board and Sydney-bound passengers continued their onward journey on other airlines.
We have dispatched engineers and material on todays flight to Melbourne to repair the aircraft and bring it back. The plane is expected to come back tomorrow, said an Air India official.
He added that the decision to ground the plane is a precautionary step,as the airline does not want to take chances. The lives of passengers on board were not endangered due to the crack that developed only upon landing of the aircraft, said the official. The same aircraft was also to be used on the return leg of the flight. We had 121 passengers booked on the return leg of the flight and all of them have been provided with an alternative option of travelling back to India with other airline, the official said.
This incident has happened at a time when a senior Boeing executive had said last week that the company would redouble efforts to further improve the reliability of the 787 Dreamliners,up from the current 97 per cent. The company has also stationed its representatives in the country to monitor the aircraft on a daily basis.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a first-of-its-kind aircraft which has been built using composites.
In recent times,the aircraft has been facing several glitches,starting with cases of its battery catching fire in January,which forced airlines across the world including Air India to ground their fleet of the aircraft for a few months.
Air India has ordered 27 Boeing 787 aircraft,of which it has received nine. The tenth aircraft is likely to arrive in India in the first week of this month.
Recently,a panel fell off a Dreamliner flight on the Delhi-Bangalore leg during landing. Based on a preliminary inquiry,Air India has suspended an engineer.