Air India to receive eight more 787s by December

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Air India will receive eight more Boeing 787 aircraft by December, increasing the carrier's total number of the type to 14.

The aircraft type's first commercial flight resumed on 15 May, and its first international flight will resume from 22 May, says the country's civil aviation minister Ajit Singh.

Air India also proposes launching four new services using the 787s.

In August, it plans to commence services on the New Delhi-Birmingham route. It also plans to launch direct services to Australia during the same period, either to Sydney or Melbourne from New Delhi.

In October, it intends to start services to either Rome or Milan from New Delhi. In early 2014, it plans to start a New Delhi-Moscow service.

Two Air India 787s have received modifications to their lithium-ion batteries, including the installation of a new containment system. The remaining four aircraft will be ready for operations by end of May, adds Singh.

Air India carried out its first 787 test flight on 9 May on the Mumbai-New Delhi route, with a "stop, back-track and take-off" in Ahmedabad. Further flight tests will be carried out between New Delhi and Amritsar, where the test flights will also help pilots to meet mandatory requirements for requalifying to operate the type, the airline said in an earlier statement.

Prior to the 787's grounding on 16 January after incidents involving Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways aircraft, in which the aircraft's lithium-ion batteries overheated, Air India used the type on services from New Delhi to Frankfurt, Paris and Dubai, and on some domestic routes.