Emirates to showcase Airbus A380 in Hyderabad as India lifts ban
20 Feb 2014
Dubai-based Emirates airline plans to showcase its Airbus A380 plane, the world's largest passenger aircraft, to the Hyderabad air show next month, in the wake of India lifting its ban on the super jumbo jets a fortnight ago.
India Aviation 2014 will be held from 12-16 March. Emirates is bringing the plane to Hyderabad in what is seen as a preliminary move towards operating the A380s in India later.
An Emirates spokesman said, ''We are working with the Indian authorities to bring the A380 to Hyderabad for the Hyderabad air show.'' the spokesman said.
Apart from Emirates, Deutsche Lufthansa also expects to start flying the superjumbo Airbus 380 jets into India, after the government recently lifted a ban on the plane, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Executives at the airlines said they would make their decisions depending on their studies of the ability of the nation's airports to handle the world's biggest passenger jet. The carriers are two of the biggest operators of the A380.
''We look forward to launching the Airbus A380 services in India soon as it is one of the most important intercontinental markets for Lufthansa,'' said Frank Puettmann, spokesman for Lufthansa.
The Indian government on 27 January lifted an unofficial six-year ban on A380 flights, allowing airlines to start flying the aircraft to four airports in the country. Authorities had previously expressed concern that the jet's large capacity - as many 853 passengers - would put Indian airlines at a competitive disadvantage.
Foreign carriers can now begin A380 flights to airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Hyderabad - which the government considers capable of handling such large planes. Nine of the 10 international airlines that operate the A380s have scheduled flights into India.
''We will be reviewing our existing operations, and look forward to serving Indian travellers with our flagship aircraft in the near future,'' said Essa Sulaiman Ahmad, Vice President for India and Nepal, Emirates.
Lufthansa and Emirates were among several foreign airlines that had urged the Indian government to let them use the double-decker A380 on high-density overseas routes to and from the country. The airlines said the aircraft would help ease congestion at Indian airports and allow them to cut costs.
Dubai-based Emirates, which operates 44 of the aircraft, has 185 flights a week to 10 cities in India. Lufthansa, which has ten of the aircraft, operates 64 flights a week to five Indian cities.
The gigantic A380, which made its first flight in 2005 and entered commercial service two years later, can carry up to 850 passengers in an all-economy configuration, allowing airlines to transport more travellers without significantly adding flights or costs.
Emirates' A380 planes typically have 399 seats in economy, 76 lie-flat seats in business and 14 luxury private suites. Passengers travelling in private suites can freshen up in one of the two on-board shower spas.
Currently, there are 114 A380 planes flying on various routes worldwide, and Airbus SAS has firm orders for another 262 planes, according to the company.