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Air India News -- Part 34

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:59 am    Post subject: Air India News -- Part 34 Reply with quote

Air India orders overhaul of its entire fleet of 147 aircraft

Mar 27, 2020

With over 650 aircraft now on the ground as both international and domestic flights face extended curbs, regular maintenance and upkeep of the aircraft to keep them serviceable has become one of the main concerns for airlines.

All international commercial passenger flights will remain suspended till April 14, aviation regulator DGCA announced on Thursday. The government had suspended domestic passenger flight operations from midnight on March 24.

Air India has asked its subsidiary Air India Engineering Services ltd (AIESL) to undertake regular maintenance of its entire fleet of 147 aircraft including that of Air India Express and Alliance Air. “Presently, all 147 aircraft are in India. Many of them are at Delhi, while another big chunk is at Mumbai airport. Some A320s are at Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Nagpur,” said HR Jagannath, CEO of AIESL.

The airline plans to use the lockdown period to carry out the maintenance upgrades of its Boeing 787s and 777s.

“We wanted to bring in all aircraft for C checks and certain modifications. We want to do a full software upgrade to 10.3 version on all 787s and 777s which takes a week to do. We also want to upgrade the engine thrusts from present 67k to 70k. These aircraft fly on Australia or London routes. We have got the approvals,” Jagannath said.

The airline is facing a manpower crunch as the country faces a 21-day lockdown over coronavirus fears.

“We have been told to deploy minimum staff and follow social distancing. There was a training course for B2 level engineers but now we have postponed it. We always keep minimum aircraft fully serviceable whenever the government requires for special missions like evacuations in Wuhan, Japan, Milan and Rome that Air India carried out during the COVID-19 outbreak,” he added.

Due to AIESL’s engineering standards and experienced staff, American engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney roped it in to carry out the repairs on its A320 engines. The technical snags led to several safety incidents involving A320 aircraft in the fleets of IndiGo and GoAir.

Maintenance of aircraft involves several checks: daily checks, transit checks, weekly checks, checks for night halt, A and C checks, weekly, and yearly check.

“The engineers have a list of things to be carried out that needs to be ticked as the walkaround inspection goes on and the list becomes more exhaustive,” he said.

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