Airbus'A380 super jumbo may take on the Rajdhani

Mumbai: With the giant Airbus A380 now making a smooth landing at the Mumbai airport, after its much-heralded debut at the New Delhi airport, speculation is now mounting that domestic airlines may also opt for this giant bird in order to tap the market of the Indian Railway's premier Rajdhani Express service.

Airframe manufacturer Airbus has floated claims that fares on the 850-seat version of the aircraft would work out cheaper than Rajdhani fares, which would allow the great Indian middle class, the Rajdhanis' main clientele, to travel cheaper and faster. According to reports, Airbus has let it be known that carriers are interested, including foreign airlines.

Airbus bases its economics on the two- to three-hour flights that connect India's big cities. According to industry analysts, bigger planes like the A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner would allow more passengers to be ferried on fewer flights. Thes would not only help carrier economics but also help reduce congestion at airports.

According to sources, Air Deccan chief Capt GR Gopinath, a guest passenger on an A380 test flight from France, was also mulling the possibility of acquiring the aircraft to try and tap into the Rajdhani segment.