AI to resume Dreamliner flight today

Air India (AI) will resume the commercial flight operations of Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes from Wednesday and will add eight more flights to its fleet by December.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said on Tuesday that AI will use the fuel-efficient planes to add new overseas destinations, including Sydney and Melbourne. The first commercial flight operations will start on Wednesday from Delhi to Kolkata.

The national carrier will begin full-scale global operations with Dreamliner planes in the Delhi-Birmingham and Sydney-Melbourne routes from August, between Rome and Milan from October and to Moscow from early next year, the minister said.

The resumption of Dreamliner flights is expected to help AI cut costs to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore in the current fiscal, while monetisation of assets in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Coimbatore are expected to generate a additional Rs 1,000 crore.

AI cut losses to Rs 5,200 crore in the year ending March from a record Rs 7,559 crore in 2011-12, Singh added.

The fuel-efficient 787 is key to attracting more passengers and cutting costs at AI, which has not made an annual profit since 2007. The Dreamliner passenger jets were grounded across the globe in January on complaints of overheating of batteries.

On financial projections for 2013-14, Singh said AI’s total revenue is expected to jump 20 per cent from Rs 16,130 crore to Rs 19,393 crore and its net loss declining from Rs 5,198 crore to Rs 3,989 crore.

He said the loss-making national carrier’s performance has been improving consistently and its total revenue in 2012-13 improved by almost 10 per cent over the previous year from Rs 14,714 crore to Rs 16,130 crore.

On the delay in the payment of salary, Singh said salaries have been paid till March this year, while allowances to employees under the “licence” category such as pilots, engineers and cabin crew have been disbursed till January. A voluntary retirement scheme is also on the anvil, he said.

The government has accepted the Dholakia committee recommendations on cost cutting in AI and has ordered its immediate implementation. The committee has made 47 recommendations.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get the top news in your inbox
Comments (+)