Air India to resume 787 flights next week

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Air India has confirmed that it is planning to resume flights with its fleet of six Boeing 787-8s in the week beginning 13 May.

A spokesman for the carrier says that India's directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has cleared for return to service those aircraft that have received modifications to their lithium-ion batteries, including the installation of a new containment system.

He could not say how many aircraft have been modified, or give a specific date as to when they will be put back in operation, only saying that it is "expected to be sometime next week".

It is expected that the aircraft will initially return to operations on some domestic routes from Delhi to Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru before being deployed on international routes.

Prior to their grounding on 16 January, the airline operated its 787s on services from Delhi to Frankfurt, Paris and Dubai. Those services have, in the interim, been operated by larger 777-300ERs and -200LRs.

As with other 787s around the world, Air India's aircraft were grounded from 16 January following two incidents that month that saw the aircraft's lithium-ion batteries overheat following apparent malfunctions.

In response to the incidents, Boeing has redesigned the batteries and charging systems, and added a new containment system which is aimed at eliminating the risk of a battery catching fire if it overheats.

The airline's spokesman told Flightglobal Pro last week that Boeing engineers were performing modifications on the six aircraft. At that stage, however, it was awaiting further direction from the DGCA before planning to return the aircraft to commercial service.

Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database shows that Air India has an additional 21 787-8s on order.