Airbus, Air India in talks over purchase of A380

New Delhi: Airbus is engaged in talks with state-run Air India for the sale of its superjumbo, the A380, senior Airbus officials said Tuesday. They expressed confidence that the superjumbos would play a key role in the expansion of the Indian aviation industry.

So far, the European aircraft manufacturer has managed just five orders for the aircraft from India, all of them from one carrier, Kingfisher Airlines.

"We are in discussions with Air India now and we think they would need about 10 to 12 A380 aircraft as soon as we can deliver them," said Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy at a news conference. Leahy said if Air India were to commit in the next few months they could probably take delivery by 2011.

Airbus handed over the first A380 to Singapore Airlines earlier this month after a two-year delay. It is committed to delivering 13 planes in 2008, 25 in 2009, and 45 in 2010.

Industry analysts have forecast the purchase of more than 900 new jets by Indian airlines by 2025 in order to meet the skyrocketing demand of its aviation sector. Airbus officials say that they expect about 45 of these jets to be their superjumbo A380.