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Dreamliners or Nightmares: Why Has India bought the troubled Boeing 787

Despite more than a decade to work out problems and an estimated $20 billion to build it, Boeing’s 787 aircraft is still plagued by issues. Ever since 787s finally began flying in 2011, there have been technical and mechanical problems, from software bugs and engine defects to faulty wiring, trouble with hydraulics and fuel tank leaks. ( More...

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Being based in the Caribbean, I can tell you that equipment "suffers " differently when permanently exposed to warm, moist and windy environment.
Excessive exposure to UV rays can reduce the lifetime of plastics, wiring insulation, plexyglass, electronics and so on......
This affects even the best equipment
s2v8377 2
Insel Air I think is still flying ALM's old MD82s out of CUR :) . Pretty cool they've kept them flying all these years!!!
Mac Bridge 1
hey, I'm from Curacao. I'm not really sure if they're still flying ALM's MD82's. I've been on a few of them and I can tell you at least one is an ex Alitalia MD. I did a quick search on the others and I haven't found one that is from ALM yet.
s2v8377 1
Hello there!!! I know it's a little of topic but interesting on Insel Air's MD82s not being ex ALM anymore. I thought they were still flying ALM's :(

I flew on a few of ALM's MD82s between Bonaire (TNCB/BON) and Miami (KMIA/MIA) In the 90's and early 2000's. I also remeber flying on the Dash 8's from TNCC to TNCB during the same time period. They were a cool airline which I miss!!!

[This poster has been suspended.]

jeff slack 2
Boeing has openly stated that they have sent out updates that tell Airlines about issues.
Boeing states they have some carriers that are right on top of these problems fixing between flights and slightly adjusting their schedule.
Boeing further states they have carriers (like AI) that refuse to update the equipment in the same timely manner as other more proactive carriers have.

Carriers have also stated that the aircraft itself is so popular with the public and their accountants that they refuse to side line them for any amount of time for these service bulletins.....preferring to wait for scheduled maintenance and the fix from the bulletins being done then.
hal pushpak 2
Empirically speaking, when comparing the "composite" fleet, Air India has four times as many Airbuses as 787's. And which ones are breaking in an inordinately higher proportion?

Depending on one's point of view (or sense of nationalism) one could claim that these are just teething problems (some major), or you could say this airplane is indeed a "maintenance turkey" because it was built by committee and outsourced in too many directions -- in an attempt to leapfrog Airbus in areas pioneered by them 30 years ago. IMHO the plane is a "Zebra."

All one has to do is read in detail the full Wikipedia entry, among other sources of information, before one jumps conclusions which attempt to cloak the 787's problems by killing the many messengers, or by blaming Third World countries.

The underlying current of superiority and nationalism, as seen so often in the comments on this subject, are very obvious. ("We're the best and our airplanes are the best." ) Therefore it's the Third World MRO's fault for buggering up these thoroughbreds--they're really not zebras at all.

Fact is, there are more 787's based in the First and Second World, and Asia, than there are in the "Third World." But yet, the problems continue to be reported from all "Worlds" -- not just the New Delhi Times.

One has to ask; how come those Third World MRO's aren't breaking other modern (composite) airplanes--or is it that these 787's are indeed a lot more fragile and finicky? Hard to admit?
AWAAlum 2
"Welcome to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit."

The fact it can be edited by absolutely anyone makes its reporting less than reliable. Might be accurate, might not be. So using Wikipedia as your source flaws your conclusions.
Guy Cocoa 2
"Boeing Dreamliners operated by Air India reported serious faults just before the takeoff from New Delhi to Birmingham and Sydney. Air India flight Number AI 113 flying to Birmingham experienced a technical snag of a most unusual nature when the flight deck doors failed to shut properly. Despite repeated efforts, the problem could not be fixed and eventually Air India had to arrange another Dreamliner to fly the already harassed 126 passengers to Birmingham. The flight, scheduled to depart at 13:35 hours, was delayed by 90 minutes."

If AI can only find 126 people who want to go to England, then perhaps delays of 90 minutes are not their biggest problem.
joel wiley 1
Kind of makes you wonder, were only 110 of them at the gate at the original departure time?
"Golly, lucky there was a malfunction, or you would have missed your flight."
steve rogers 2
sure but these planes are brand new ,if that's the case I hate to them three years from now .
Ric Wernicke 4
So Air India had "a technical snag of a most unusual nature when the flight deck doors failed to shut properly."

To operate a door, one must first be smarter than the door.
s2v8377 3
The 787 is a great aircraft, and I am looking forward to flying on one soon!!!

It is no secret that the early 787s which Air India is flying have unfortunately suffered maintenance issues some very serious regardless of the airline operating them, or their maintenance record.

I have not heard much about maintenance issues with the current 787 deliveries.

Two other things of note. Unfortunately regardless if it's Boeing or Airbus planes have more maintenance issues than most of the flying public would ever want to know or think about. Thank goodness the majority of them are not serious.

Secondly this article is very poorly written by someone who obviously does not like Boeing for what ever reason.
lynx318 1
Notice no name attributed to the author which makes you wonder about his credentials. Second, is the rest of AI fleet also having a lot of mechanical problems besides their Boeing craft, if so this speaks more of AI maintenance than it's aircraft choices.
Bill Menzel 3
"AI’s Dreamliner fleet did 9,902 take offs till June, 2014 — and as many as 318 of those flights faced 'service delays attributed to technical snags'."

While other issues might cause service delays, that computes to a mechanical/technical dispatch rate of 99.97%. That seems pretty good to me.
I-Gene Leong 2
Sorry, but you're off by a couple of orders of magnitude. That's a 96.8% dispatch rate.

(318 / 9902) * 100% = 3.21%
100% - 3.21% = 96.79%
Bill Menzel 2
You're right. Math was never my strong suit :-)
smoki 1
" by a couple of orders of magnitude." Not even close. Orders of magnitude "OOM" typically refer to powers of 10. The error in this instance did not rise to even a single OOM.
Alex Wilcox 2
OP said 99.97%

100 - 99.97 = .03%

Actual rate = 3.21%

.03% to 3% = .03 X 10 X 10 = .03% X 10 squared = two orders of magnitude

"We say two numbers have the same order of magnitude of a number if the big one divided by the little one is less than 10. For example, 23 and 82 have the same order of magnitude, but 23 and 820 do not." — John C. Baez
Call a friggin Waaaahmbulance. The Indian MRO's lack of qualifications alone and reputation for buggering up anything they get their mitts on is the main cause. Other airlines have had probs with the 787, but not like AI has and the whole Indian aircraft industry is suspect right from the start. MY OPINION!
Markus Wolff 1
I regret this topic and here is why. Boeing's 787 is relatively new to the industry; However, the company is as old as they come with a proven track record of making great aircraft. This "Dreamliner" attempts to be the answer Boeing gives to its most feared competitor AIRBUS. How many troubles did Airbus go through a decade ago, & is still going through with maintenance & fatalities? I would not fly on an Airbus or any of Boeings newer aircraft. Composites & computers that second guess or override a Captains & his crews decision are not for me.

Give me the 737, 747, MD80, MD90.
Matt West 1
I don't think the travelling public like the plane too much either. Go to SeatGuru and look at the comments about BA's 787 - they are not flattering.
jeff slack 4
While I appreciate your comment;

I would say that runs contrary to two articles posted on this very site in previous months saying how much the public loves this machine.

Then one must consider the whingers you see on seat guru, and consider the seating is decided on by the airline not the maker.

I prefer to get comments from FF's and Cockpit and Cabin Crew, not the penny pinching greyhound riding new flyer that now counts themselves as the new Trailer Trash Jet-setters.

Just sayin'.
El Thirtynine 1
Sorry, but you won't see me booking a flight on a 787 for at least another five years.
smoki 1
Dredging up a compendium of historical "snags" (typical British terminology) on a still relatively young and revolutionary airplane design is nothing more than prejudicial editorializing that should be disregarded for what it is, an opinion hit piece.
Iftikhar Khan 1
Pushpak bête, do not confuse ideology with reality. Born and bred in Bangalore long before you, it am confident in my assessment. I still love my mother country for what it gave to me to go on.
toolguy105 1
This particular problem has to do with a design fault with the General Electric Engines Air India chose and is not a problem with 787 with the RR Engines. Other Airlines with the GE engines are not being grounded for the technical fix only this one AI plane that we know off. This does not speak well of AI maintenance that Boeing the FAA and Korea would all come together to ground one aircraft from yet another country.

The problem is not with the design of the plane but with a vendor supplied stand alone part, the engine from GE. For reasons of its own Boeing has seen fit to take this problem on as its own. This to me speaks highly of Boeing and why I stand by this motto; "IF it ain't Boeing I ain't going."
India's ATC has been critized for being suspect for years. Perhaps the same could be said about AI.All commercial aircraft have delays and major cost overruns. Too many comments on Flight Aware degenerate into an Airbus/Boeing fistfight. Both companies make excellent aircraft. The attempt by Boeing to outsource much of the production for the 787 was admirable because it gave employment to several countries. However the main culprit in the delay was the choice of the firm which made the fasteners which were substandard. The choice of lithium batteries and the troubles they caused was unfortunate. These batteries are state of the art but because of the power required on this state of the art aircraft when full of passengers the heat generated was sort of an unknown. No lives lost and corrections have been successful. Quite frankly I would not fly AI regardless of what aircraft they fly.
preacher1 1
What kinda bothers me is that these little glitches are being confined to 3rd world airlines; Either that or thy are not being reported by other majors. Makes you wonder about overall mx.
Colin Seftel 8
Thomson Airways, based in the UK, has experienced fuselage de-lamination, a battery fire and an engine failure. That's not 3rd world.
Air India sure has a lot of these glitches, but there were quite a few at Norwegian Air Shuttle as well, not a 3rd world country on anyone's list. If there is a maintenance problem maybe it has more to do with the quality of the company than with the location of the head office.
Andrew Turk 7
I think you are right with it having more to do with the quality of company. The article also complained about glitches with the 747 which is a pretty reliable plane. Either the maintenance is really bad or the author doesn't like Boeing.
joel wiley 5
You may be on to something. The OP has been a member 5 months, 71 postings. The majority are either airbus, which read like the AB PIO, and Boeing, universally negative. Maybe the op is building a 'fair and balanced' resume for applying to Faux News.
<disclaimer: poster is an avid fan of neither AB nor Fox>
Jerry Rader 3
I agree. Just read all 71 comments by this writer and they are 100% negative about Boeing airplanes and 100% positive about Airbus. In his opinion it seems that Airbus is perfect with a flawless record and Boeing should shut their doors and become an airplane manufacturer of the past.
Andrew Turk 3
I think you are right with it having more to do with the quality of company. The article also complained about glitches with the 747 which is a pretty reliable plane. Either the maintenance is really bad or the author doesn't like Boeing.
preacher1 3
Could be; that is basically what I meant
Let's see what happens once Kenya Airways has flown their B787 for a while.
preacher1 1
It will be interesting.LOL
AWAAlum 2
My only experience with the 787glitches has been via the news in the media , the internet and reading FlightAware. Being a Washington State resident, I'm quite a loyal fan of Boeing. So, having been in the business of building planes for such a long time - how is it they could get so many things wrong? (This isn't a bashing, but rather a serious question.) I just don't get it. Anyone?
Dee Lowry 1
AWA- My thought is that Boeing had so many resources (countries) producing various sections, parts etc. I don't think the right hand knew what the left hand was doing. When Boeing produced aircraft, in the past, they were assembled in one place. Renton or Everett. Everyone at each plant, were on the same page and therefore production went like a well oiled machine. The 787 was and is the victim here because of its unusual assembly process. But then again, the 787 is the first of it's kind. Absolutely there are going to be issues- this is where heads either get together or they roll. I'm sure some heads were rolling because of the lithium batteries, made in Japan. Even the smallest part, which is made in Cucamunga could set deliveries back months, as we have found out.
twflybum 2
I don't think they are confined to 3rd world airlines. I was on United 139 Denver to Tokyo and they had a pump failure of some sort. (I got off the plane to discuss my situation with customer service so missed the original announcement - got the info second hand).

Anyway, ~3 hours laterk take off on a different 787. Caused me to miss my connection in Tokyo so ended up being a 12 hour delay reaching my destination.

Only point being, US carriers are experiencing problems too.
Gene Delaney 1
Well then it's the perfect plane for an airline the likes of Air India.
Iftikhar Khan -2
Dump it to the Indians, they will take anything if they think it is a status symbol, including being left out the loop in 787 problems........twisted thinking!
AWAAlum 1
If I could I would have just given you 50 thumbs down.


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