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June 3, 2010

A380 to fly in Indian skies by winter

Filed under: General — aerotowfeeq @ 3:46 pm
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The Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft will soon fly in Indian skies, possibly by the winter schedule from Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL).

Sources in DIAL said talks were on with two major airlines, Lufthansa and Emirates, which were likely to operate the wide-body, four-engine airliner from the airport.

Terminal 3 (T3) at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is capable of handling this giant, the world’s largest aircraft. International airline operators are expected to shift to T3 from Terminal 2 by July 14. The number of transit passengers carried by A380 is also expected to yield substantial revenue for DIAL.

“We have already applied for the permission to operate A380 and the process is under way. We expect to be able to operate during the winter schedule, which can be anywhere from November to March. Even after the permission is obtained and the terminal is ready, there are a number of things that need to be worked out, most importantly the ground equipment needed has to be put in place,” said Axel Hilgers, director- South Asia, Lufthansa.

Lufthansa, the German carrier, has ordered for 15 A380 and expects four to be delivered by the end of this year. It received the first of the superjumbos on May 19, which will be put in service from June 11 onward, flying from Frankfurt to Tokyo. Each A380 costs around Rs 1,712 crore (about 300 million euro). The German carrier is expected to fly the aircraft on the Tokyo, Beijing, Johannesburg and Delhi routes.

A spokesperson for Emirates said, “Any decision to operate would be dependent upon passenger demand on a particular route as well as the ability of specific airports to safely handle the aircraft from an airport compatibility standpoint. We will introduce the A380 on India-bound routes when the time is right.” “The A380 aircraft provides a greener option for long haul travel through substantial reductions in noise, emissions and fuel burn.”

Emirates operates eight A380 aircraft, serving London Heathrow, Toronto, Paris, Jeddah, Bangkok, Seoul, Sydney and Auckland. In March 2010, the airline also announced the start of A380 services to Beijing from August 1 and Manchester from September. An A380-800s cabin offers 5,146 sq ft floor space, 49 per cent more than the next-largest airliner. The aircraft can accommodate 525 people in a three-class configuration or up to 853 people in all-economy class configurations,says Airbus website.

Currently, commercial operators such as Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Emirates and Air France are the primary users of A380.

A spokesperson for the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) said, “We have had an A380 test flight earlier. However, no airlines have applied for permission to operate A380 from MIAL as yet.”

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