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June 12, 2010

Foreign airlines not allowed to fly in A-380 now

Filed under: General — aerotowfeeq @ 9:19 pm
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NEW DELHI: Indian airports may be getting ready for the biggest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A-380, but it will be a while before foreign airlines are allowed to operate the superjumbos in India on regular flights. A team of senior officials of German carrier Lufthansa last month went to the aviation ministry to get clearance for flying A-380 to Delhi. But Indian authorities are learnt to have told them that giving clearance for this plane would not be easy.

The reason: If Lufthansa launches the A-380 on the highly lucrative Delhi-Frankfurt route, it will wean away substantial traffic from Indian carriers’ flights to Europe. “The A-380 has a huge appeal for travellers. If they have an option of flying to a major base like Frankfurt in that aircraft and from there get connected to rest of the world on the German airline and Star Alliance that it leads, Indian carriers will suffer in terms of losing travellers,” said sources.

Sources said the airline wants to bring the A-380 to India at the earliest. When contacted, an airline spokesperson said: “Before Lufthansa can commit to deploying the A-380 to India, the airline requires all necessary permissions from authorities here.” Among Indian carriers, only Kingfisher has ordered five A-380s.

European carriers are now desperate to do something spectacular like getting the A-380 as Gulf carriers are posing a huge challenge to their once unchallenged market leadership here. “Today Indians are flying to the Gulf and from their hopping on to brand new aircraft belonging to the cash-rich airlines. Emirates is offering A-380 flights from Dubai. With low fares and brand new planes like A-380s, Gulf carriers are proving huge challenge to European carriers,” said an industry source.

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