New Delhi: There are no plans at present to ground Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes of Air India even though the aviation regulator DGCA proposes to carry out a safety review of the new aircraft, officials said on Wednesday.
    
"There are no plans to ground the Dreamliner right now," a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official said when asked about the technical glitches some of these planes have faced in the recent past.
    
The comment came hours after two Japanese airlines--ANA and JAL--grounded all 24 of their Dreamliner planes following a series of technical problems.
    
"We are in consultation with Boeing and Air India. Boeing will be giving us an update on the electrical problems some of these planes have suffered," the official said.
    
However, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would conduct a safety review of the aircraft currently with Air India, depending on the feedback from the manufacturer and the airline, he said. Air India has ordered 27 B-787s and six of them have been delivered so far.
    
Earlier, official sources had said Air India and the Civil Aviation Ministry would await the findings of the US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) probe into the problems faced by Boeing 787s before taking any decision.
    
The American aircraft maker had last Friday jointly announced investigations with FAA after three of these aircraft owned by the Japanese carriers suffered glitches this month -- an electrical fire, fuel leakage and a broken cockpit window.
    
"There is nothing to be done by us at present. We have already carried out inspections and checks on our aircraft on our own, including the lithium ion batteries," a senior Air India official said, adding, "We are awaiting advice from the FAA and the Boeing."
    
Aerospace experts say these batteries are used on the F-22 and F-35 fighter aircraft, the International Space Station, battery-powered cars like Tesla and Chevy Volt, apart from the high-tech Dreamliners.

Even as FAA continued its probe and safety review of the aircraft, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines on Wednesday grounded all 24 of their planes for safety checks after one of them made an emergency landing in western Japan, reports said.    

In September last, Air India had also experienced a glitch in its Dreamliner's liquid cooling system and electrical power system, which had led to the grounding of all three of these planes at that time.
    
After the faults were rectified, these aircraft have been flying regularly on select domestic and international routes. Regarding the problem of fuel leaks, the Air India officials said this was not something "unusual as it occurs in all aircraft types. Such problems have to be rectified immediately but these are not anything new or different."
    
Boeing has designated a team in Delhi for any trouble-shooting for Dreamliners, they said, adding that the team was "available to us at any time in the eventuality of the planes facing any technical problem."    

Stating that the "fuel efficient" plane has started turning the fortunes of the carrier on many loss-making sectors which were so far being serviced by B-777s, they said, "We are banking on these aircraft going forward because of the fuel efficiency."
    
Sectors like Delhi-Frankfurt, which were bleeding the airline, have now turned cash-positive with the deployment of these planes, the officials said. The aircraft are also being operated on Dubai and Paris routes.
    
With the introduction of these planes, Air India has put five of the Boeing 777-200 LRs up for sale and gradually replacing their routes with Dreamliners.
    
Dreamliners, the latest and most technologically advanced offering from Boeing, is made of lightweight composite materials instead of aluminium.
    
Boeing has said it was confident about the design and performance of B-787s, maintaining the aircraft have logged over 50,000 hours of flight and there were more than 150 flights of these planes occurring daily.

(Agencies)

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