Air India took its first Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner earlier this year and joined the elite club of 787 operators as the fifth member back in early September. Air India’s turnaround plan is highly dependent on the efficient operation of the new type.
Only the fifth airline to take delivery of a 787 (following launch customer All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and LAN Airlines) Air India’s first delivery was delayed by over four months because of negotiations over the issue of program delay compensation. The Indian government is also arguing with Boeing about the weight guarantees promised by the aircraft manufacturer earlier – but those discussions are continuing separately.
“Today is a great day for Air India as the most technologically advanced and fuel efficient airplane in the world joins our fleet,” said Rohit Nandan, Air India Chairman & Managing Director at the delivery ceremony. “The 787 will allow Air India to open new routes in a dynamic marketplace and provide the best in-flight experience for our passengers.“
Air India has 27 Dreamliners on firm order, and one of the early deliveries has been assembled in Boeing’s new South Carolina plant – where the delivery ceremony took place as well. The airline took delivery of a second 787 just a week after the first one, also in South Carolina. They are taking deliveries of 4 more planes by the end of 2012 (have three in operation at the time of this article), seven in 2012, five in 2014, six in 2015 and three in 2016 to complete their planned fleet of the type.
With 18 seats in Business (pictured above) and 238 in Economy class (pictured below) (256 in total), Air India is right in the middle of the other 787 operators in terms of seat density (JAL and LAN have less seats, while ANA and Ethiopian have more).
After the first month or so when the type was only used domestically, the first international destination of the Air India Boeing 787 has been Frankfurt, Germany.