Air India has “advised” Boeing that it would not take delivery of the Boeing 787 till the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Authority investigation into an incident on a new aircraft is complete.

Sources declined to comment on whether the “advise” to Boeing was conveyed through a letter, email or on the phone.

Foreign news agencies reported that Boeing, General Electric and US officials were investigating a malfunction that spewed metal debris from a GE engine on a Boeing 787 aircraft and caused an airport grass fire in South Carolina.

Reports said that material was ejected from the back of the engine during pre-flight testing. The aircraft is one of the three that will be delivered to Air India.

Incidentally, Air India Boeing 787 will be powered by GE engines, while some of the other global airlines operating the same aircraft are powered by Rolls Royce engines. Air India has ordered 27 Boeing 787 aircraft.

The inquiry by both the agencies is likely to be completed in about a week, a person familiar with the developments said.

Air India will also have to wait till the Union Cabinet gives its nod for how much compensation the airline should seek for the over four-year delay in delivery of the latest Boeing aircraft.

Aviation analysts say it is not uncommon for new aircraft joining international airline to face teething problems. Analysts point to how the Airbus A-380 also faced problems soon after it was inducted.

“This is one of the primary reasons why most international airlines are reluctant to launch or are among the first few customers for a new aircraft made by any manufacturer,” airline sources said.

ashwini.phadnis@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 2, 2012)
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