New Delhi: Air India is set to replace all its eight Boeing B-777 (LR) aircraft with the help of the US aircraft manufacturer and make the B-787 Dreamliners its workhorse over the next few years.
The announcement by Air India CMD Rohit Nandan came on a day when two of the airline's six Dreamliners resumed commercial operations and operated regular flights from Delhi to Bangalore and Kolkata.
While AI-803 made an early morning roundtrip to Bangalore with 156 passengers and crew on board, AI-020 operated to Kolkata in the afternoon.
"We are replacing all our B-777s with which we have been operating our long-haul flights. We treat the Dreamliners as a game-changer for us as this aircraft will improve our revenues over the years," Nandan said.
"We will either sell or lease them. We are in the market talking to prospective clients but can't disclose anything more as it's a commercial matter.
"We are already in discussion with Boeing to help us in this matter (talking to prospective buyers). ... No time limit can be set (for completion of the process of disposing off these aircraft)," the airline CMD said in reply to questions.
His statement came at a joint press conference by Air India and Boeing to mark the resumption of Dreamliner operations.
Boeing's Senior Vice President Dinesh Keskar spoke about the refit of new batteries in each of the 50 B-787s which were grounded worldwide since January 17 after two battery-fire incidents involving these planes of two Japanese carriers.
"We are confident that the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity," Keskar said.
Nandan said Air India, which now has a fleet of six Dreamliners, would get eight more of these aircraft including one this month itself. It has ordered a total of 27 of these planes, all of which would be delivered by 2016.
Besides Kolkata and Bangalore, Air India would resume Dreamliner operations to London (from May 22), Paris, Frankfurt and Chennai within this month. New destinations to be flown by these planes later this year would be Birmingham, Rome, Milan, Melbourne, Sydney and Moscow.