Broken seats, frozen IFE, stained seats and so-on are not unheard of on Air India’s 777s which primarily fly to the USA. Air India has a fleet of 13 777-300ER and 3 777-200LR for commercial service. One of the 13 777-300ER, VT-ALX is a relatively new 777-300ER, delivered in March 2018. Rest all the 777s are between 9 to 11 years old.
Barring VT-ALX, there are issues with the hard product on Air India 777s on the account of poor maintenance and age. According to Hindustan Times,
Air India incurred an estimated revenue loss of ₹3 crore over the past three months owing to around 1,500 damaged and unusable seats on its international flights that were left vacant. Data provided by the airline said most of these seats were on Boeing 777 aircraft, operating between India and the United States and were left vacant between February and April.
That’s around 17 seats per day. This data only accounts for unusable seats being left vacant. It, however, doesn’t address the main issue, the entire hard product itself which is outdated.
It was earlier reported that the Air India was asked earlier to determine the cost of refurbishing the aircraft or just replacing/repairing the broken seats and take up whichever costed less. Well obviously, refurbishing an aircraft is costly especially a 777, so it was natural that the second option would be given a go-ahead.
Just board air India flight AI0102 from JFK to Delhi and I was not expecting this from Maharaja 😡We r better than this. Maintain some standard atleast on international route. @airindiain @MoCA_GoI @narendramodi @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/dFEXWGJirn
— Rahul Sharma (@rahul0159) May 17, 2019
The Government doesn’t want to pump in more money as it is considering selling Air India completely. While the disinvestment failed earlier, we don’t know what will happen after the elections. As a stop-gap arrangement, Air India has issued a tender to repair/rejuvenate plastic parts of the broken seats on the 15 777s.
You can read the entire tender here. Air India hasn’t specifically mentioned the number of seats under consideration of repair but looks like all the seats will require some sort of repair. They have given a completion time frame of 15 days. Air India wants the contractor to provide defect-free warranty of a minimum of 12 months for the seats and a guarantee of providing repair service at cost for another 24 months.
The repairs won’t work in the long run. Another major issue on the 777s is broken IFE screens. The IFE systems are over a decade old, and are in need of replacement. Air India has issued a tender not for repair of IFE screens but to install streamable IFE on all its aircraft for free. The streamable IFE will complement the current seatback IFE screens on Air India aircraft. Till then, you should see this.
— Ajay Awtaney (@LiveFromALounge) December 8, 2017
What is the condition of the Air India widebodies you’ve recently witnessed in your travels?