Delta Air Lines Airbus A330, with a KLM Boeing 747-400 in the background, in Amsterdam – Photo: David Parker Brown
At the start of last year, we looked at the results of the 2013 deliveries between Airbus and Boeing. With all the interest in that article, I couldn’t leave it alone for 2014, right? So let’s take a look at how the two big airliner companies did, in what is really the biggest aviation competition around?
2014 was a big year for both Boeing and Airbus. Last year we saw the first delivery of the A350XWB for Airbus, while Boeing also had delivery of the first 787-9 to Air New Zealand (followed closely by ANA).
On the narrowbody front, the A320NEO had its first flight (don’t those engines look like someone strapped giant engines onto the wing and went “it will work, trust me”) and the 737 MAX makes it one step closer to rolling out of the Renton factory. There were plenty of orders made to both airliners, but what we really want to know is, who produced and sold the most aircraft?
Air India's 6th Boeing 787 Dreamliner seen on the factory floor in Everett, WA. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.
Things for Air India aren’t exactly going so great right now. The airline is in the middle of a pilot strike that has been going on since May 8th and has cost the airline over $63million, due mostly to international flight cancellations. Over 200 pilots have called in sick and the airline has responded by firing over 100 of them.
Back in 2005, Air India placed orders for 27 Boeing 787s and was originally supposed to take delivery starting in September 2008. Obviously that did not happen with the delays of the Dreamliner.
It was expected that the airline would take delivery of their first Dreamliner by the end of May 2012, but almost un-noticed, no aircraft have been delivered.
According to MyDigitalfc.com, “Air India was earlier supposed to receive the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft by this month-end, but the delivery was delayed due to technical issues revolving around last minute checks relating to minor glitches in interiors.” It seems like it might be more complicated than that.
It appears that Air India is trying to receive compensation for the delays of their aircraft and are refusing to take delivery until an amount is agreed upon. If this sounds familiar, it is because Cargolux pulled something similar with Boeing before taking delivery of their 747-8Fs.
One of the concerns raised by the striking pilots is that many who are being re-trained to fly the 787 are from the ex Indian Airlines (which was merged with Air India in 2011). According to The Hindu Business Line, it would cost about three times as much to train ex Indian Airlines pilots to fly the 787 versus Air India pilots, so it doesn’t quite make sense.
Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Indian government is planning to invest 12 billion rupees ($215.6 million) into the faltering airline. For now, it seems Air India will stay afloat, even though it has lost large amounts of money over the past five years.
So, will Air India ever take delivery of their 787 Dreamliners and why are they delayed? Emails to Air India have gone un-answered and at the time of posting this story, Boeing is working to answer some questions posed by AirlineReporter.com.
Boeing has billions of dollars worth of aircraft currently sitting at Paine Field, which I am sure they just want to deliver to their customers. It seems like odd timing that Air India, which doesn’t really have any pilots to fly the 787 right now (or money), is aggressively seeking cash from Boeing, just days before intended delivery.
Boeing has written back and explained, “We look forward to delivering the first 787 Dreamliner to Air India, but we don’t discuss details of our delivery plans and defer to our customers to announce their own timing.” When asked if there were any technical issues that contributed to the most recent delay and if the 787s are currently ready for delivery, Boeing stated, “We don’t discuss those topics.” This is not too surprising, since Boeing is still in the middle of negotiations with Air India.
The NYDailyNews is reporting that a compensation package offered by Boeing has been accepted by the Air India board and now needs to be approved by the the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). The CCEA is planning to meet with Boeing tomorrow, Thursday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Air India is expecting to receive their first 787 Dreamliner later this month.
Photo of Boeing 787 Dreamliner ZA002 with ANA livery taken at Paine Field during its first flight.
Boeing announced today that they hope to still deliver the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner to All Nippon Airways by the end of the year, but the delivery could be pushed into early 2011. Boeing points to issues with instrumentation configuration and problems with the horizontal stabilizer as reason for the possible delay.
“We have seen some test instrumentation configuration changes that have taken a bit longer than we had planned,” Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the Boeing 787 program said in a call with reporters. “That coupled with some of the inspection work that we’ve seen recently has led to a little bit of schedule pressure.”
It is unfortunate that this announcement will have a lot of people complaining about the Boeing 787 being delayed again. We must all remember, this is the next generation of aircraft and it is extremely complex. Boeing used companies all over the globe to build this plane and it is important to make sure the aircraft is 100% ready before being delivered to airlines. If that takes a little bit longer, I am alright with that. I rather the 787 Dreamliner be delayed a bit more than it pre-maturely gets delivered before it is ready.
Years from now, no one will remember how delayed the plane was…they will only remember how it ushered in a new era of air transport.