SAN FRANCISCO- Tata-owned Indian FSC, Air India (AI) Boeing 777 is grounded at San Francisco (SFO) over a week as a ground utility vehicle hit it. Further, the airline made its last flight from Mumbai (BOM) to San Francisco (SFO) on July 4, 2023.
Air India operates four times weekly flights as AI179 between BOM to SFO. Subsequently, the airline deployed Boeing 777-200LR registered as VT-AEF on this route.
Air India Boeing 777 Grounded at SFO
According to the source’s unconfirmed reports, the plane has been grounded at SFO since July 4 as a utility ground vehicle hit the aircraft. Subsequently, the aircraft has sustained major damage and is going under maintenance at SFO.
As the Indian carrier operates BOM-SFO-BOM flights, the airline doesn’t have a proper maintenance facility at SFO. Further, as per the source, the airline doesn’t have a contract for maintenance with MROs at SFO.
Due to all this, the airline took spares and maintenance staff from their home country. Subsequently, this consumes more time and delays the maintenance work.
According to Aviation A2Z sources, Air India is expected to return aircraft from SFO on July 13, 2023. But this highly depends on final tests that are yet to be conducted.
This is not the first time Air India Boeing 777-200LRs have been stuck at SFO. Earlier this year, in January 2023, VE-AEG was grounded at SFO for ten days amid spares shortages and other major maintenance-related issues.
UPDATE: The flight has entered the Indian Airspace and is expected to land shortly at Mumbai (BOM). The airline is operating it as the ferry flight AIC180D. Track it here: Flightradar24: Live Flight Tracker – Real-Time Flight Tracker Map
According to Flight Radar 24, the aircraft took off from Delhi Int’l Airport at 10:35 PM UTC on Jun 6, 2023. The AI 173 flight en route to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) over Russian Airspace.
However, the aircraft reported a technical snag in one of its engines. Subsequently, the pilot decided to divert the flight to one of the nearest airports.
The aircraft landed safely at Magadan Airport (GDX) in Russia at around 8:36 AM UTC. The plane was airborne for almost 10 hours from its Takeoff from DEL.
According to an Air India spokesperson, 216 passengers and 16 crew members were on board Flight AI173.
The spokesperson stated, “The passengers are being given necessary assistance at the airport and will be offered alternative options to reach their intended destination as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the aircraft is currently undergoing required inspections on the ground.”
The aircraft involved in the incident is Boeing 777-300 ER. Further, it is powered by one of the most powerful General Electric-developed GE 90 Engines. It has the registration VT-ALH. Further, it is approx 14 years old aircraft that AI took delivery of back in 2009.
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