The decision of the Civil Aviation Ministry to allow A-380 aircraft to fly into India is expected to benefit Indian tourism, but the move will hurt the interest of Indian carriers such as Air India and Jet Airways, according to analysts.
The fares to be offered by foreign airlines having A-380 aircraft in their fleet, including Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa, would be much cheaper than the fares of Indian carriers who have B-737s, A-320s and B-787 aircraft in the fleet and flying to Singapore and Dubai, to name some destinations.
A-380 called the Superjumbo has capacity to accommodate over 850 passengers in an all-economy class configuration and 555 passengers in three-class configuration. The capacity offered by the Indian carriers is no match to them.
“Of course, the entry to A-380 will affect Indian airlines like Air India, Jet Airways and Indigo. They cannot match the fares to be offered by airlines operating A-380s. But they should have worked out their strategy well in advance as they knew that A-380s would be allowed. In a global environment, one cannot prevent A-380 from entering India for long time. For the time being, Indian carriers will be affected,” said Iqbal Mulla, President, Travel Agents’ Association of India.
Impact on pricing
“There will definitely be some impact on pricing but we have to wait and watch. We still don’t know whether there is enough capacity to deploy an A-380 in some of the India routes. We have to hear from the airlines,” said Sharat Dhall, President of online travel portalYatra.com.
Foreign airlines lobbying for lifting the ban on A-380 have welcomed the move but are cautious in their approach on the possible deployment of aircraft on Indian routes.
“The clearance to deploy A-380s on Indian routes is favourable news to the Indian aviation industry. Singapore Airlines will evaluate the commercial viability of this recent development based on available traffic rights and resources,” David Lau, General Manager India, Singapore Airlines, said in a statement.
According to analysts, foreign airlines may bring in A-380 as early as next season.
“The A-380s will help bring down fares and improve the cost-competitiveness of the Indian tourism sector. They will improve the efficiency and capacity utilisation at Indian airports. This decision will also allow India to get more market access in the UAE, Germany and Singapore for Indian goods and services.
“All in all, a great move that will show benefits in the coming summer season,” said Amber Dubey, Partner and Head-Aerospace and Defence at Global consultancy KPMG.
Indian carriers remained tight-lipped, and declined to comment on the likely impact.
Earlier, on Monday, the government removed restrictions on flights of Airbus A-380 to India. Now, flights of A-380 will be allowed at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore airports. The decision has been taken after due consultations with the DGCA, Air India and Airports Authority of India, the ministry of civil aviation said.
“The operation of A-380s will help airports generate more revenue, give more comfortable and luxurious travel to passengers, liberalise the Civil Aviation milieu in India, and boost the image of Indian civil aviation in the international market. As per available information, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa are interested in operating A-380 aircraft in India on various international routes,” the statement of the ministry added.