Delivery of Boeing 787 Dreamliner Likely in December

The ailing national carrier, which has been one of the first customers of this fuel-efficient plane, having placed orders for 27 of them way back in 2006, plans to fly them on medium-haul international routes

Singapore is likely to be the first foreign destination on which Air India plans to operate two of these Boeing-787s, which it expects to be delivered this calendar year itself, airline sources said

Besides Singapore, they said the other routes could be Hong Kong, Dubai, Osaka, Jakarta and Frankfurt

While the deliveries were earlier scheduled to begin from October this year, after being delayed by over two years, the sources said now the first delivery was only likely in December. The launch customer of the Dreamliners is Japan's All Nippon Airways

The prime reason for this delay is that Air India now wants the aircraft to be fully certified by the Federal Aviation Authority in the US before being delivered to it

To questions on when Air India planned to launch its subsidiary 'Alliance Air' as a full-fledged low-cost carrier, the sources said it could become functional as early as the Winter schedule starting October this year

It would be operationalised as soon as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issues the airline operator permit (AOP) to it, the sources said

The national carrier's turnaround plan includes a 40- aircraft fleet, mostly turboprop aircraft or ATRs, for Alliance Air, apart from another 40 for Air India Express which would continue to focus primarily on routes to the Gulf and South and Southeast Asia. PTI ARC AHM 08091939 (THROUGH ASIA PULSE)

09-08 2011