Tuesday 22 October 2019, 03:50 AM
Officials defend minister,s trip to US to get Dreamliner
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 5/18/2012 12:00:00 AM
Officials defend minister,s trip to US to get Dreamliner

New Delhi : Civil aviation ministry officials Friday defended Minister Ajit Singh s visit later this month to the US to receive the first of the 27 Boeing-787 Dreamliners, saying the aircraft manufacturer is sharing the cost. "The programme of Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh visiting US will not cost more than 15-20 lakh.

This is far less than giving an advertisement in any national dailies or TV channels," said a senior ministry official. The minister s plan to go to US with an entourage of officials and journalists has raised eyebrows at a time when Air India is making huge losses and the government is battling a slowdown and has talked about ushering austerity measures.

The ministerial delegation to the US May 28-31 will include ministry officials, pilots, engineers, officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and media persons. According to the official, the ministry is not bearing the entire cost of the trip which is partly sponsored by Boeing, whose factories will be shown to the minister and his delegation.

"They (delegation) will be travelling for 32 hours in the four-day trip, when they will first travel to New York and then onwards to Seattle and Charlston where Boeing has its facilities," the official said. A civil aviation ministry official said the trip would help change perceptions. He said it was important for the American public to know that India is not taking away jobs from the US but also employing people in the labour-intensive aircraft manufacturing industry.

"This is the public perception there that we have taken away American jobs. This trip will highlight that we have also contributed back to their economy," the official said. The official said Air India was betting on the Dreamliners entry into its fleet and this had to be shown to the public to bestow their trust in the airline again. The first of the 27 Boeing 787 aircraft is expected to join the fleet at the end of the month.

Air India is the third global airline after All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines to receive the fuel-efficient and eco-friendly aircraft. Air India had booked 27 Boeing 787s in 2006 in a mega deal for 68 aircraft from Boeing. Air India was to get the delivery in May 2008 but the delivery got delayed by four years for a variety of reasons, including manufacturing delays.

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Officials defend minister s trip to US to get Dreamliner

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