Air India has flown several of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners in recent weeks, though none have had passengers on board. Still, the flights come despite the move by regulators in the USA, Europe and Japan to ground the jets, The Wall Street Journal reports.
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Financially struggling Air India ferried three of its six 787s from Delhi to its engineering base in Mumbai on Feb. 2. The carrier also relocated another two — also without passengers — during the days immediately after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered the jets grounded, according to the Journal.
The Journal says a senior Air India executive confirmed the flights, which the official says came after consulting with Boeing. Air India apparently wanted its Dreamliners to be maintained at its Mumbai base, but also wanted to avoid Delhi’s “high aircraft parking charges,” the Journal reports.
The Journal writes “Air India’s move is unusual as U.S. Regulators extended its ban to test and delivery flights, as well as commercial operations.”.
The U.S. FAA, of course, has no direct jurisdiction only over U.S. Flights, though the Journal notes “the agency has set the pace for other countries.”.
The newspaper points out several other Dreamliners have been stranded at places inconvenient for their airline owners. According to the Journal, United has a Dreamliner stuck in Tokyo, Qatar Airways has one in London while Polish carrier LOT has one in Chicago.
Citing unnamed “people familiar with the situation, the Journal writes FAA officials “appear willing to consider non-passenger 787 flights under special conditions,” though the agency apparently will not do so until the “root cause” of the jet’s battery problems is identified.