Airbus A-380, world's largest passenger plane lands at IGI's T3 terminal

When the Emirate Airlines Airbus A-380, the largest airplane in the world landed at the new state-of-the-art T3 terminal yesterday it became the first commercial international superjumbo jet to touchdown in the country.

The flight from Dubai carried 517 passengers and 26 crew members who were witness to the historic event as Delhi's T3 terminal became one of the world's few airports equipped with the facilities to handle the jumbo carrier.

The new terminal is the only Indian terminal at present to boast the infrastructure to accommodate the A-380. According to Andrew Harrison, COO of Delhi International Airport (P) Ltd (DIAL) the terminal has nine contact points for the huge aircraft and could accommodate the same number of planes simultaneously.

Keen on being part of the historic event passengers had picked up tickets in record fast time of four days after they were made available. The aircraft boasts 14 flat-bed first class private suites with electrically operated doors. It also has 76 fully-flat first class private suites with electrically operated doors. In business class it offers 76 fully-flat with mini-bars and aisle access.

The 427 seats in economy class are spread across four cabins on its lower deck.

The flight took off from Dubai around 10.15 am local time landing at IGI airport at 3.30 pm. Its scheduled landing at 2.50 pm had to be aborted due to poor visibility from heavy rains in the capital. The aircraft was forced to take a go-around till visibility improved after the rains stopped.

The aircraft was diverted from its regular route to be part of T3's trial runs. According to officials from Emirates which already has 11 A-380s with 79 more to be added, they were keen to start commercial operations of the aircraft on a regular basis but it depended on capacity growth, bilateral relations and airport handling.

According to Emirates' senior vice-president Majid Al Mualla, the airline was in talks with the Indian government and hopefully it would be able to start commercial operations of Airbus A-380 on a regular basis from Dubai to India.