Air India is estimted to lose about Rs 18 crore a month due to the grounding of its six Boeing 787s. The planes are on ground since January 17 following Federal Aviation Administration directive. According to Air India sources the estimate includes monthly interest cost of about Rs 7.5 crore. Air India has taken aircraft acquisition loan and is paying annual interest of four percent. Apart from that the grounding has resulted in loss of revenue, differential cost of fuel (due to use of Boeing 777s) and maintenance related expenses. The airline is expected to make a case for compensation and is process of finalising the loss amount. All Nippon Airways (ANA) which operates 17 of the 50 787s in service at present has said that the grounding would result in $15.4 million in decreased revenue.
A total of 459 domestic and international flights were cancelled in January due to the grounding, the airline said.Air India flew its 787s on three domestic routes and three international routes. It is using narrow body airbus A320s on domestic sector and deployed Boeing 777s on Frankfurt and Paris routes. Due to non availability of trained Boeing 777 pilots the airline was forced to cancel or combine flights to Europe and Tokyo. The fuel burn on Boeing 777 is higher than Boeing 787 which is billed as 15 percent more fuel efficient. Air India was due to receive two more 787s by March and the deliveries too have been deferred. Air India has 27 Boeing 787s on order. Boeing has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to allow test flights of the 787 Dreamliner while investigators work to uncover the source of the aircraft's battery problems."Boeing has submitted an application to conduct 787 test flights and it is currently under evaluation by the FAA," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said Tuesday. Air India flew some of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft even after US regulators grounded the global fleet last month due to undiagnosed battery problems. Dreamliners operated by the national carrier were flown to Mumbai for maintenance reasons, Arun Mishra, the DGCA head said on Monday. "When the Dreamliners were grounded, they had come to Delhi from Frankfurt and Paris. Air India asked us for permission to take them to Mumbai because they have their maintenance facility there and also they were paying very high parking charges in Delhi," Mishra, director general of civil aviation, told Reuters. "We gave them permission with strict orders that no passenger will be allowed."