India lifts ban on Airbus A380s, foreign carriers interested

Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:41am EST
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By Devidutta Tripathy

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India lifted a landing ban on Airbus (AIR.PA: Quote) A380s on Monday, enabling carriers such as Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI: Quote) and Emirates EMIRA.UL to fly their superjumbos into the world's second-most populous nation.

A380s will be allowed to land at the country's four main airports - New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad - which are equipped to handle the planes, a decision welcomed by foreign carriers looking to tap India's fast growing air travel sector.

"The operation of A380s will help airports to generate more revenue, give more comfortable and luxurious travel to passengers, (and will) liberalize the civil aviation milieu in India," the civil aviation ministry said in a statement.

The ban on A380s was imposed due to concerns that foreign airlines could grab a high share of international traffic, hurting state-run Air India AIN.UL.

Air India could not be reached for comment.

The A380 can carry more than 800 passengers in a single-class configuration and more than 500 passengers in a three-class set up.

The aviation ministry said Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) had all expressed an interest in operating A380s in India on various international routes.

"We will be reviewing our existing operations, and look forward to serving Indian travelers with our flagship aircraft in the near future," an Emirates spokesman said, adding a decision would depend on passenger demand.   Continued...

The Airbus A380, the world's largest jerliner with a wingspan of almost 80 meters (yards), is seen on the tarmac near the structre which the plane touched, damaging its right-hand wing-tip, on the eve of the opening of the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, near Paris, June 19, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Niek van der Zande