Flights grounded till April 14

With over 650 aircraft now on the ground as both international and domestic flights face extended curbs, regular maintenance and upkeep of the aircraft to keep them serviceable has become one of the main concerns for airlines.

All international commercial passenger flights will remain suspended till April 14, aviation regulator DGCA announced on Thursday. The government had suspended domestic passenger flight operations from midnight on March 24.

Air India has asked its subsidiary Air India Engineering Services ltd to undertake regular maintenance of its entire fleet of 147 aircraft including that of Air India Express and Alliance Air. “Presently, all 147 aircraft are in India. Many of them are at Delhi, while another big chunk is at Mumbai airport. Some A320s are at Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Nagpur,” said HR Jagannath, CEO of AIESL.

The airline plans to use the lockdown period to carry out the maintenance upgrades of its Boeing 787s and 777s.

Due to AIESL’s engineering standards and experienced staff, American engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney roped it in to carry out the repairs on its A320 engines. The technical snags led to several safety incidents involving A320 aircraft in the fleets of IndiGo and GoAir. Maintenance of aircraft involves several checks: daily checks, transit checks, weekly checks, checks for night halt, A and C checks, weekly, and yearly check.

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