Oh lord, this was not deemed to have happen, but it finally did. I first crossed roads with an Air India colors Boeing 787 at the Indian Aviation 2012 event in March 2012. For the record, I was not impressed with how Air India was planning to use these planes, because they were clueless themselves.
At that point of time, Air India was supposed to be the second carrier to have the plane, and perhaps the first one with the GEnx-1B engines, picking them up in May 2012. That was the plan even when I visited the Boeing factory in January 2012 and talked to some people there.
And then, Air India and the Government of India got greedy and wanted more. So, apparently they sent a memo to Boeing asking for a US$ 1 Billion in compensation. While the eventual number is undisclosed, it was a long drawn out process with the Government of India’s various arms and legs and committees and attorneys and everyone trying to have a say in the matter, and pushing back the delivery date every few days and months. In the last instance, Air India forgot that there would be a holiday in London so did not wire the money soon enough.
Over the past few months there have been quite a few hoax chats about the 787 being finally delivered to AI. Air India has had a crew stationed in Charleston for a month now, and apparently the locals were tired of having them around, but were being polite in offering a free beer ! In the process, AI has now moved to being the 5th carrier to receive its plane.
The good news, is that the wait is over. And if this latest addition to the fleet is the game changer for Air India and what they intend to mint money on the India-Australia frequencies, then they collected the first plane VT-ANH today at Boeing’s facility in South Carolina. Here is a delivery microsite Boeing created to celebrate the delivery to Air India. All Things 787, the blog that tracks all 787 deliveries, also confirms this delivery has taken place.
After months of negotiating and waiting accompanied with a lot of hand wringing, Boeing has finally delivered the 1st 787 to Air India. The “ceremony” is decidedly low key compared to other 1st deliveries of the 787 to other customers and rightlfully so.
The plane is supposed to be flying out tomorrow (Friday 7th September 2012) and land in India at Delhi IGI Airport on Saturday (8th September 2012) at about 17:00 hours. A little birdie tells me the Prime Minister of India has been invited to the reception organised in Delhi, though his office has not confirmed if he is coming or not. If you want to track the flightpath, here is where you can look it up.
More updates later, when the plane actually arrives in India!
- A first look inside the Boeing 787 Dreamliner which will go to Air India
- I am off to Hyderabad for India Aviation 2012
- Air India proposes a $1 Billion compensation, Boeing disposes in $500 Million
- Album with all the AI Boeing 787-8 Pictures