Media Reports are full of the news that: “Melbourne will be the first Australian city to receive scheduled 787 service when Air India deploys the aircraft on its new Delhi-Melbourne route in October.” (Flightglobal.com).
Seeing that’s my home city, I took an interest.
Context first: This news came amidst celebrations accompanying the touchdown of a 787 at Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi. Air India has 27 of the planes on order and got $45million in compensation for their delayed delivery (three years now). Air India is the number two customer for the 787 after Japan’s ANA.
In an article in the Calcutta Telegraph an unnamed Air India official said “Direct flights to Australia are the top priority for us. The route will be profitable for Air India and is a key ingredient of the turnaround plan,”
The chance of an Air India Boeing 787 flying from Melbourne to Delhi in October is as likely as a flying elephant or magic carpet doing the same route that month! Or as we say in Australia: “pigs might fly“
|Welcome for 787 New Delhi’s IGI airport last Wednesday.|
- If the announcement had been made by the CEO of Air India, I may take more notice. An anonymous official’s comment in the excitement of a new plane landing on Indian soil carries little weight with me
- Boeing is giving no one- ANA, Air India, the press, any definite delivery timetables for the 787s. They have been saying September, 2011 since June. September is six weeks away. There are reportedly ten in Seattle waiting for delivery to ANA first, followed by Air India.
- ANA, the 787 launch customer are not making any firm dates for their first route launch dates. Believe me, I am watching closely. If ANA launches September 1, then there is a small chance of Air India flying their 787s in October
- Four days ago, Boeing slowed down delivery of 787 parts from its suppliers to catch up indicating they are not planning on getting many planes out this year
- to start a MEL-DEl service will require familiarisation and approval from Indian and Australian air safety authorities.
- Air India has a track record of delays in other new initiatives eg Air India was meant to be a member of Star Alliance in March 2009, March, 2011 and July, 2011
- the MEL-DEL route has been a saga with Air India pulling out years ago due to low profitability and then planning a launch on this route twice using A330 then 777 equipment. They last cancelled flight plans December, 2010
- Air India is b.r.o.k.e. They have got a lifeline from the government and are seeking more. Do they really have the economic resources to fund a loss making flight? They will want to market this flight heavily to fill planes from the start. That needs a lead time longer than six weeks.
If I am wrong on this, join me at Melbourne airport between October 1 and 31. I will be the guy with a magic carpet, a flying elephant and an Air India 787 ticket.