Airbus chief tries to persuade Air India to buy A380 superjumbos

Aircraft maker Airbus Industrie wants India's flag carrier Air India to buy up to 12 Airbus A-380 super jumbos. Airbus says it is looking for a greater presence in the world's fastest growing civil aviation market. The Airbus CEO said he hoped to see the A-380 in the Indian skies, in the not too distant future.

Airbus chief executive officer Tom Enders said his company hoped to expand its relationship with India, which he said was the fastest growing (civil aviation) market. Also present were the company's chief operating officer John Leahy, and Airbus (India) president Kiran Rao. The duo is part of the high-powered business delegation that has accompanied German chancellor Angela Merkel on her ongoing tour of India.

Kingfisher Airlines is the only Indian carrier that has placed orders for the A-380, delivery of which will begin from 2010 - 2011. In October, Singapore Airlines became the world's first airline to have inducted the superjumbo in its fleet. If orders are placed within the next couple of months, Airbus will be able to start delivery of aircraft by 2011-2012, Leahy said.

The long-range aircraft can fly Delhi-Los Angles or Delhi-New York non-stop. Airbus says it has so far sold more than 100 aircraft this year, to seven customers. Airline industry estimates was that India would require 1,100 aircraft worth $105 billion in the next 20 years.