With the first delivery in this country of the 787 Dreamliner aircraft due in the second quarter of 2011, the President of Boeing India, Dinesh Keskar, speaks to Aminah Sheikh on their new commercial jetliner. Edited excerpts:
Most airlines are trimming capacities, won’t this affect your orders?
We are not really concerned with the capacities being lessened, because the 787 actually benefits airlines. It is 20 per cent more fuel-efficient than other comparable aircraft, which means it will reduce costs and offer potential to increase revenues. Also, the 787 can carry 40 per cent more cargo. It is a 250-seater than can fly 12-14 hours non-stop. Globally, 55 customers have ordered 840 of the 787s.
What makes the 787 an important part of your portfolio?
The 787 is made of lightweight composite material (carbon fibre). This makes it possible to give passengers a more comfortable cabin, with better air quality and larger windows. It produces lower emission and is much quieter.
When will the first 787 be delivered here?
Will Boeing be compensating Air India for the delay in delivering the 787?
There is not much to say beyond what we already have. We are working with Air India on that.
Is the delivery of 737s to Air India on track?
Air India has purchased 17 of the 737s from us; an additional seven have been leased. The last of the 25 ordered will be delivered to Air India next week.
What is the progress on the MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) facility joint venture with Air India in Nagpur?
We will begin construction of the facility next year. The plan is to develop two hangers initially. We are working with Air India to define the rest of the requirements. Since the first 787 will be delivered only in 2011, this facility will not be needed for at least another two to three years.