Air India will seek compensation from Boeing for disruptions caused by the grounding of the entire fleet of 787s, India’s aviation minister says.

All the 50 787 aircraft delivered by Boeing, including six sent to Air India, have been grounded following incidents of fire and smoke in lithium-ion batteries. “These problems will entitle Air India some compensation. Let’s wait for a while. We will discuss with Boeing only when the things settle down. At present, safety is important,” Civil Aviation minister Ajit Singh says.

Singh, however, would not discuss when Boeing will be approached for damages, or the total Air India expects in compensation. Air India is still committed to the 787 and has no plans to trim its order of 27 aircraft, Singh has previously said.

Air India Chairman Rohit Nandan indicates that the compensation will focus on operating costs. “We have an understanding that we will be compensated . . . We are now operating the Boeing 777s on the routes earlier operated by 787s. Whatever be the differences between the operating costs, we may get it,” Nandan says.

Nandan also expects the 787s to resume revenue service in a couple of months. “We expect to bring back the six grounded [Boeing 787] aircraft into service by mid-April,” Air India’s chairman says.

A Boeing spokesman would not comment on the compensation or return to service, but notes, “Boeing has mobilized resources and formed teams who are working around the clock with the sole focus of resolving the issue.”

Air India A319 photo: Airbus