New Delhi: Air India on Thursday grounded all its six Boeing-787 Dreamliner planes after a global directive by US regulator, Federal Aviation Administration, to stop operations of all the 50 such planes delivered so far to various airlines.
The FAA directive was immediately adhered to by aviation regulator of countries whose airlines have so far bought these latest aircraft.
On Wednesday, Japan had grounded 24 Dreamliner owned by two of its airlines-- ANA (All Nippon Airways) and Japan Airlines.
Air India officials said they have grounded all the six planes in its fleet with immediate effect following the FAA directive and the DGCA advisory.
They said that FAA has directed the grounding of the entire Dreamliner fleet till such time as the aircraft manufacturer Boeing "demonstrate compliance" of various measures the American regulator has asked it to carry out.
However, the officials maintained that its services will not be affected in any major way as flights to Paris and Frankurt operated by the Dreamliner will now be serviced by Boeing 777.
While one of the six planes is always on a standby, three are used on the domestic sector and two on international including Paris and Frankfurt, they said, adding that domestic services would be absorbed by the existing fleet of aircraft.
Operation only after FAA, DGCA nod
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on Thursday said the grounded fleet of Boeing Dreamliner aircraft would be allowed to fly only after clearance by US regulator Federal Aviation Administration and the DGCA.
"Certainly, we will not fly the Dreamliner until the FAA and our own DGCA give clearance," he told reporters here.
On the extent of seriousness of the problem with the aircraft, Singh said, "How long it will take, we will all know only in a couple of days but there are about 50 dreamliners in operations for more than a year, therefore more than 50,000 miles. So let us hope they can find a solution soon."
The Minister said he had talked to the FAA and the US regulator has said that "it will check all the planes, entire system because of this battery problem".
He said the DGCA was constantly in touch with the FAA and "what I think and what I know is that Boeing has to come with a plan for the FAA to test all the electrical system and batteries."
"When that plan comes up, we will also test them but basically first FAA has to approve that they are safe to fly," Singh said.