Only in India…gigantic billboards are forcing Air India to not sell 51 seats on their B777-300ERs operating the BOM-EWR route. Bloomberg reports that huge billboards are forcing departures from BOM to climb rapidly on takeoff, but the 15-hour flight to EWR would be too heavy to clear the billboard with its full load of passengers and fuel.

As a result, Air India now leaves 51 passengers off the 777-300ER. Flying 15 percent under capacity means losing 100 million rupees ($1.6 million) per month on the route, an Indian aviation minister told legislators on Monday, according to my Bloomberg News colleague, Anurag Kotoky. Airport officials at Chhatrapati Shivaji International have so far removed 13 of the 15 offending billboards in flight paths.

India Billboards

Photograph by Dhiraj Singh

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Huge Billboards Cause Air India to Cut 51 Seats from their BOM-EWR B777-300ER | Globe Trotting Winos Guide to Frugal Travel August 6, 2014 - 8:42 am

[…] Huge Billboards Cause Air India to Cut 51 Seats from their BOM-EWR B777-300ER […]

Gene August 6, 2014 - 8:52 am

I wonder CO’s EWR-BOM takes any payload hit as a result (above the normal restriction)…

Gene August 6, 2014 - 8:53 am

and by CO I of course mean UA 😉

Adam August 6, 2014 - 8:57 am

@Gene – according to Bloomberg they don’t – United Airlines (UAL) uses a smaller 777-200 for the same route and has not experienced similar problems on departures, a spokeswoman told Bloomberg News.

DaninMCI August 6, 2014 - 9:48 am

I would think the airlines could afford to buy the billboards and take them down with a big ROI from lost seat revenue.

ASan August 6, 2014 - 11:02 am

Taking down the billboards isn’t as easy as one might think, in India! The legal system is crazy, and you still have open litigation that started in 1878. You read that correctly!

I’d written about this Air India / billboard episode a month or so ago. You can read about it here:

Air India Grounds Plane - Rat Infestation...not the first time - Point Me to the Plane - Point Me to the Plane August 6, 2014 - 1:02 pm

[…] Huge Billboards Cause Air India to Cut 51 Seats from their BOM-EWR B777-300ER […]

Rags August 8, 2014 - 1:58 pm

This looks such an improbable story. I mean, if AI was so good that it could calculate “wait if I drop 51 seats I can climb 200ft per sec more than I would normally”…oh come on…that’s attributing too much intelligence and capability to Air India.


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