India's former aviation minister mocks Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, calls it a cheap 'Chinese toy', as India grounds all six of the aircrafts operated by state-owned carrier AirIndia after the same decision was made by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration(FAA).
Earlier in the day, India grounded all six of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft operated by state-owned carrier Air India after the same decision was made by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The snag found in the aircraft has drawn flack, especially from the opposition over government's decision to buy them.
"The Dreamliner is just like a Chinese toy and I have travelled in it several times while going to Bhagalpur (eastern city). I have spoken to the crew also and they say that even the interior of the plane is like the Chinese sofa and is breaking into pieces. I have heard a lot of complaints about the aircraft. The whole world, including United States and Indiahas grounded the aircraft. India must now pressurize Boeing to provide another aircraft of the same category and if the aircraft has the technical snags, then why did the government decide to buy it," he said.
India joined Japan, Europe and the United States in grounding Boeing Company's 787, a day after a second incident involving battery failure caused one of the Dreamlinerpassenger jets to make an emergency landing.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would temporarily ground Boeing's newest commercial airliner and insisted airlines would have to demonstrate the lithium ion batteries were safe before they could resume flying. It gave no details on when that might happen.
Meanwhile, leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Balbir Punj, demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter.
"Dreamliner deal was highly suspicious and the very fact that plane has not been to the expectations and have to be grounded calls for an immediate inquiry at the highest level to fix responsibility as to how India has been burdened by the dead machine and how much losses India and Air India as a whole have suffered," he said.
The 787, which has a list price of $207 million, represents a leap in the way planes are designed and built, but the project has been plagued by cost overruns and years of delays. Some have suggested Boeing's rush to get planes built after those delays resulted in the recent problems, a charge the company denies.
The use of new battery technology is among the cost-saving features of the 787, which Boeing says burns 20 percent less fuel than rival jetliners using older technology.
J N Jha, a passenger at Mumbai airport said that the aircraft should not be grounded, as it will cause inconvenience to the people.
"When the government makes use of the latest technology, then the people of the country are benefited. However, in aviation, passengers' security is of utmost importance. Therefore, if there is a technical snag, it must be detected and resolved. Also, the passengers must not be denied of the facilities and Boeing should not be grounded," he said.
"In the new aircraft, some technical snag has been discovered in time by Japanese, by American and they have taken the right step of grounding it. Grounding means, they will ground it, check it, the emergency light has come on, and the battery failure has been discovered. If there is an emergency and battery failure, then there are number of subsidiary items which can fail, along with that, indicative items and other items, which operate the main functions, such as hydraulics and flaps etc, lot of problems are there, it can come. So, it is very prudent, on part of the people who are in the aviation that when you find a fault like this, you must ground the fleet," he said.
In Asia, only the Japanese and Air India have the Dreamliner in service, but other airlines are among those globally to have ordered around 850 of the new aircraft. Chile-based LAN also grounded its three 787s in compliance with the FAA warning.
Barring a prolonged grounding or a severe and uncontained crisis, aircraft industry sources say there is no immediate threat of plane cancellations.
The Dreamliner's problems could sharpen competition between Boeing and its European rival Airbus, which itself experienced a dip in sales for its A380 superjumbofollowing problems with wing cracks a year ago. The A380 crisis has since eased and most airlines report the aircraft are flying full.