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Air India training IAF pilots to fly new Boeing 777 aircraft for VVIP fleet

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

ANI New Delhi, India Oct 10, 2019, 12.10 PM (IST)

National carrier Air India is training the pilots of Indian Air Force (IAF) for operating the new Boeing 777 aircraft, which would be used for ferrying the top leadership of the country including the President, Vice President and Prime Minister.

This would also be for the first time that Air India pilots will not fly the 'Air India One' special aircraft which is used by dignitaries.

Currently, Air India's trained pilots of Boeing 777 are giving training to Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots at the Mumbai (Kalina) training centre of the airline.

"IAF pilots are trained but they are specialised to fly with fighter plane or specific IAF aircraft, but new aircraft of Air India Boeing 777 which will be delivered in July 2020 for VVIPs are typical commercial aircraft and IAF pilots need to go through training for commercial aircraft," a senior Air India official said.

At present, Air India has Boeing 747 aircraft for VVIP dignitaries who fly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu with Air India pilots.

The aircraft is known as 'Air India One'. Two brand new Boeing 777 aircraft will come in use for VVIPs in July 2020.

The official further said, "In total, around 10 IAF pilots will get training by Air India for new Aircraft Boeing 777. Training of four-six IAF pilots has been completed, and remaining are supposed to be taking it in coming days."

The IAF pilots being trained for the Boeing 777 operations would be the part of the service's Palam-based Communication Squadron which ferries VVIPs for domestic routes or for travel to nearby neighbouring countries.

Meanwhile, there will be no changes in the maintenance. Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL) will take care of the new Boeing 777 aircraft, and Air India crew services inside the aircraft will also remain the same. 

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This would also be for the first time that Air India pilots will not fly the 'Air India One' special aircraft which is used by dignitaries.