While there’s no denying that Air India is a lackluster airline, I do think they’re sometimes unfairly portrayed by the media, at least in India. The Indian media seems to love to report every little Air India incident, when a similar situation wouldn’t even get mentioned elsewhere in the world. For example, there was a recent report that an Air India flight between London and Delhi last December was delayed by a few hours, and they somehow linked that to a staff party. Somehow that’s worth reporting… 10 months later!
So I’m writing this post not to spread a rumor, but just because I find it really interesting as someone that’s fascinated by the business side of the airline industry.
Bangalore Aviation has a post about Air India’s most mysterious 787. This particular Air India 787, with tail number VT-ANI, was delivered in May of 2012. Per FlightAware, the last flight it took was on April 21, 2014.
The post asks whether Air India is stripping a brand new 787 for parts, based on pictures they received of the plane in a hangar in Mumbai. In the pictures, the plane has engines and the radome removed.
Of course it’s normal for planes to undergo maintenance whereby parts are removed, so in and of itself that isn’t unusual. And it’s also normal for airlines to intercharge aircraft parts. So the real mystery here isn’t the missing parts, but rather why a brand new jet has been grounded for six months.
Assuming the rumor is true, why could Air India be using a brand new 787 for parts? Presumably because they’d have to pay cash for new parts, while they’re financing the 787, so from a cash flow perspective it might be “cheaper” for them short term.
But the thought of using a brand new, $100+ million dollar plane for parts is just… wow.
Anyone have another theory as to why the plane has been grounded for six months?