Air India Dreamliner faces snag, re-lands at Melbourne

An Air India Dreamliner flying from Melbourne to New Delhi had to return to Melbourne Airport soon after take-off on Sunday night following a flight control snag.

DreamlinerAir India's Melbourne officer Madhu C Mathen said the flight AI 311 carrying 200 passengers experienced technical difficulties after taking off and had to return to Melbourne, where the problem was fixed.

The flight left for Delhi this morning and will be arriving at its destination late at night.

"The passengers were accommodated at hotels and boarded the flight this morning," Mathen said.

The Boeing 787 'Dreamliner', touted as the mass-passenger aircraft of the future, has faced problems since its much delayed launch, with buyers forced to ground the plane due to battery snags.

However, it is not known whether the latest incident was due to manufacturer problems or poor maintenance by the India's flagging 'flag carrier'.

India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is investigating this latest snag and is awaiting the aircraft's maintenance report.

This is the second trouble AI is facing with the Dreamliner this month. About a fortnight ago, another Dreamliner's belly panel had flown off before landing in Bangalore on a flight from Delhi.

A report citing unnamed sources says shortage of spare parts is adding to the troubles of Air India, which is only airborne on government money. Replacements take long to come from the US, the report adds.

Air India's troubles with the Dreamliner are likely to figure at the India-US aviation summit in Washington this week. Almost the entire aviation ministry top brass, led by civil aviation minister Ajit Singh and AI management, including chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan, will be there, and Boeing is likely to face some tough questions.

"A Boeing team will be here on 11 November. They are going to upgrade the software systems of all Dreamliners. These are teething troubles," an AI official reportedly told The Economic Times.

The US Federal Aviation Administration, which has certified the Dreamliner, monitors each problem with this plane and may send technical inputs to Boeing.

The FAA had grounded the Dreamliner globally in January till a battery overheating issue was resolved (See: FAA approves Dreamliner's redesigned battery syste and Nightmare for Boeing as Dreamliners grounded).