World's largest aircraft makes first commercial landing in India

B.LINE:Inside view of Airbus A 380 of Emirates, at Indira Gandhi International Airport , in the capital on 157.10.Pic Kamal Narang

B.LINE:Inside view of Airbus A 380 of Emirates, at Indira Gandhi International Airport , in the capital on 157.10.Pic Kamal Narang   | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang

The first commercial landing of the Airbus A380 — the largest aircraft of the world — took place at the newly inaugurated Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport here on Thursday. Organised to commemorate the launch of Terminal 3, the touchdown of flight EK-516 of the Emirates Airline from Dubai to Delhi was greeted by a water cannon salute at the airport.

A major feature of the new T3 is its A380-compatible runway and passenger boarding bridges. However, rain held up the landing of the EK 516 for about half an hour. The plane, which was supposed to land at around 2.55 p.m., landed at roughly 3.35 p.m. The aircraft was about to touch down but owing to rain and poor visibility problems it took another round of the airfield before landing. On landing too, there was some delay before passengers could disembark. The pilot announced that the delay was caused as the aerobridges were being connected. Sources, however, said it was a stray dog on the runway that had caused the problem.

An Emirates official said: “We organised this flight to promote the A380 in India and give an idea to people about what it is like.” However, India will have to wait before Emirates commences regular A380 operations in the country as the airline has no such immediate plans.

Incidentally, it was the Kingfisher Airlines which first flew in the A380 to India in 2007. The A380, which is the world's only twin-deck, two-aisle airliner, is touted to be less polluting to the environment compared to other aircraft. It offers better fuel economy per passenger mile than most hybrid passenger cars and also produces less noise. The aircraft has two decks. The business and first class seats are on the upper deck of the Emirates A380 while economy seats are on the lower or main deck.

It also boasts of 14 flat bed first class private suites with electrically operated doors and 76 fully-flat seats in business class, each of which has its mini-bar. The economy class too offers greater comfort through contoured seats.

The A380 is 73 metres long while the height and wing span are 24.1 and 79.8 metres respectively. The aircraft's cabin is also believed to be the widest in the world and its cabin length is 50.68 metres.

Speaking to journalists about the prospects of starting A380 operations to India, Emirates senior vice-president (commercial operations West Asia and Indian Ocean) Majid Al Mualla said: “There are three factors we always look into — the capacity and the growth of the routes, the bilateral agreement between the two countries and if the airport is capable of handling the A380. As soon as these factors are in place we will look into it.”

“The Emirates currently has a fleet of 11 A380 aircraft. We will get an additional 79 A380 aircrafts over the next seven years. There will be opportunities for India as well,” Mr. Mualla said. The 79 aircrafts which have been ordered are worth over $ 59 billion.

“We are in regular touch with the Ministry,” he said, stating that talks with the Indian government regarding A380 operations were yet to begin. Emirates began operations to India in 1985 with 10 flights a week and currently operates 184 weekly flights to 10 Indian cities. The airline has over 900 staff in India and plans to hire more.

Correction and Clarification

There is an error in the heading and text of the above report. It should have said “World's largest airliner” or “World's largest passenger aircraft”. The largest aircraft is the Antonov An-225, built by the Antonov Design Bureau.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 9:58:18 PM |

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