It will be allowed only in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad & Bangalore

The Civil Aviation Ministry on Monday gave the go ahead for the world’s largest passenger airline Airbus A-380s to fly into India.

The state-of-the-art A-380s will be allowed to land at four airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore — which are equipped to operate the planes.

The decision to lift the ban on the double-deck planes was taken after weeks of consultation by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Air India and Airports Authority of India (AAI), an official statement issued here said. For several years, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa have been pressing the government to allow them to fly the super jumbos into the country.

Soon after the announcement, Airbus welcomed the decision that is likely to boost capacity, connectivity and allow international airlines to link India and its cities. In a statement issued here, the company said: “This is good news for Indian airports and the Indian flying public. The A-380 is the world’s most fuel efficient aircraft in service with the lowest operating costs per seat. It has the highest revenue generating potential, which benefits the airlines and the travelling public. For the Indian flying public, the A-380 offers the world’s most comfortable flying experience,” Kiran Rao, Airbus executive vice-president strategy and marketing, said in the statement.

An A-380 can seat 850 passengers in an all-economy configuration, but those having a three-class configuration can accommodate between 550 and 600 passengers. The operations of the A-380s would be subject to overall traffic entitlements within the bilateral Air Service Agreements (ASAs) with different countries. Entitlements not expressed in seats per week should be rationalised and converted into seats per week before A-380 operations from these countries are allowed in India.

Air Service Agreements (ASA) specifically prohibiting operation of A-380 in India will have to be amended before A-380 operations from that country are allowed. The rationalisation of traffic rights from services per week to seats per week shall be done through mutual negotiations and inking a Memorandum of Understanding. All the airports will have to receive DGCA certification and make adequate arrangements before operating services.

The statement said operation of A-380s would help airports generate more revenue, provide comfortable and luxurious travel experience to passengers, liberalise the aviation milieu in India and boost the image of Indian aviation in the international market.

Amber Dubey, partner, head-aerospace and defence at global consultancy KPMG, said the decision was in line with the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s pro-business reforms. It showed the Indian aviation market as liberal and attractive. The A-380s would help bring down fares and improve cost competitiveness of the Indian tourism sector, he said.

David Lau, general manager (India) Singapore Airlines, said the clearance was good news for the Indian aviation industry. Singapore Airlines would evaluate the commercial viability of the recent development based on available traffic rights and resources, he said.

RELATED NEWS

Entry of A-380s puts Indian carriers in a spotJanuary 28, 2014

More In: Industry | Business