After weeks of delays and with no advance public notice, Air India took delivery in North Charleston today of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The plane is the first to be delivered from Boeing’s local campus but the jet was not made in South Carolina. It was assembled in Everett, Wash., and flown to Charleston International Airport for pickup by Air India.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the carrier plans to pick up two more 787s this month, citing an unidentified executive from the airline.
Five completed Air India jets are on the Boeing flight line in North Charleston, including the plane delivered today.
The first hand-off was scheduled to take place last week. No reason has been given for the delay, though one apparent glitch was that state-owned Air India had to approve compensation from Boeing for another scheduling conflict. The carrier was supposed to pick up its first Dreamliner four years ago, but the 787 program got bogged down by numerous manufacturing setbacks.
The plane will be flown to India Friday, Boeing said in a statement. It was not immediately clear whether there will be any official send-off ceremony.
“Today is a great day for Air India as the most technologically advanced and fuel efficient airplane in the world joins our fleet,” said Rohit Nandan, Air India’s chairman and managing director. “The 787 will allow Air India to open new routes in a dynamic marketplace and provide the best in-flight experience for our passengers.”
Air India is the fifth airline in the world to take delivery of a 787 Dreamliner.
This delivery is the first of 27 Dreamliners for Air India. The airplane is equipped with 18 business class seats and 238 economy class seats.
The 787 has the range and capability to allow Air India to deploy the Dreamliner on many routes including the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Australia.
“We are pleased to celebrate another historic moment in our nearly seven-decade long relationship,” said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific and India Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Check back later at postandcourier.com for more details.