NEW DELHI: Air India’s Boeing 777s — the backbone of the Maharaja’s long and ultra long haul nonstops to North America — have not been impacted by US aviation regulator’s directive to check B777s with Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines.
The AI B777s have General Electric (GE) engines. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has, however, asked AI to be “more vigilant during ground checks (of these engines) as a precautionary measure.”
Last Saturday, a United Airlines’ B777 with PW engines operating from Denver to Honolulu had experienced a right engine failure shortly after takeoff.
Debris from the engine was scattered over nearby residential areas as the aircraft returned to Denver. It had landed safely and no one on board was injured.
After this, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it has directed “immediate or stepped-up inspections of Boeing 777 airplanes equipped with certain Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. This will likely mean that some airplanes will be removed from service.”
AI has 3 B777-200 long range (LR) and 13 B777-300 extended range (ER) aircraft in its fleet.
Two B777 ER of AI have recently been converted into VVIP aircraft for use by the president, vice-president and prime minister, replacing the over 25-year-old B747 jumbo jets that were used for VVIP flights so far. All the AI B777s have GE engines.
“Air India has three B777 LRs with GE 90-110 series engines and 13 B777 ERs with GE 90-115 series engines. AI does not operate B777 with PW engines. While as of now there is no need to take any step on these aircraft types, we (are telling) AI to be more vigilant during ground checks as a precautionary measure,” a senior DGCA official said.