Air India may get first 787 Dreamliner from Charleston

Charleston Post and Courier
July 19, 2010

Boeing Co. executives in North Charleston might need to be prepared to organize a celebration flashy enough for a country that embraces Bollywood.

Air India is expected to take home the first 787 Dreamliner jet to roll off the new assembly line that Boeing is building in North Charleston. That delivery is expected to take place in early 2012.

The aviation blog broke the news, citing people knowledgeable of the 787 program.

A Boeing Charleston official declined to confirm the report or say when the company expects to announced the first delivery details.

Previous aircraft hand-overs at Boeing’s manufacturing headquarters near Seattle have ranged in fanfare from spiritual ceremonies to loud celebrations.

Air India sports red-and-orange-streaked planes. It is the subcontinent’s largest air carrier with hubs in Mumbai and New Delhi. The company’s order for 27 Dreamliners shows the state-owned carrier’s effort to compete with emerging private companies, said Virginia-based aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia of The Teal Group. .

“They had a recipe for complacency, which is easy to do if you’re state-run, so they’re trying to reinvent themselves,” he said.

Aboulafia also noted that India is one of the fastest-growing air travel markets.

The carrier placed its 787 order in December 2005 as part of a broader deal valued at more than $11 billion. It was the largest commercial airplane order in India’s civil aviation history.

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