Air India gets its first Dreamliner

By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

At long last, the Boeing Co. delivered Air India’s first 787 Thursday at the company’s South Carolina facility.

“Today is a great day for Air India as the most technologically advanced and fuel efficient airplane in the world joins our fleet,” Rohit Nandan, Air India chairman, said in a statement.

The carrier initially was to receive its first Dreamliner in May. However, early that month Air India’s pilots went on strike over which of the airline’s workers would get to fly the Dreamliner.

Air India also has been long concerned with receiving adequate compensation from Boeing over the jet maker’s nearly four-year delay in the 787 program. In January 2011, Air India executives estimated the carrier had lost more than $1.3 billion in revenue due to Dreamliner delays.

Although the delivery took place at Boeing’s North Charleston site, the 787 that was handed over was assembled in Everett. In July, Boeing flew two Everett-built 787s to South Carolina to await delivery to Air India.

Air India has 27 Dreamliners on order. At some point, the airline also will take delivery of the first 787 assembled at Boeing’s North Charleston facility.

The airline was scheduled to fly the 787 to Delhi today, Boeing said in a statement.

“We are pleased to celebrate another historic moment in our nearly seven-decade long relationship,” said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific and India sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Air India is the first Indian airline to receive a Dreamliner and the fifth airline worldwide to operate a 787. Boeing delivered the first 787 to All Nippon Airways of Japan last September. The company also has delivered Dreamliners to Japan Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and LAN Airlines of Chile.