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Sun 16 Feb 2014 01:54 PM

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A380 services to India could start this year

Dubai’s Emirates is currently assessing possibility of flying world’s biggest commercial jet into country

A380 services to India could start this year

Commercial flights to India on Airbus’s A380 superjumbo could start this year following an easing of rules in the South Asian country, a senior executive at the planemaker said.

Speaking to Bloomberg, executive vice president Kiran Rao said that at least three carriers had sought the permission of Indian regulators to operate the world’s biggest passenger jet in the country, with Dubai’s Emirates Airline and Germany’s Lufthansa widely believed to be among them.

In a statement in January, India’s aviation ministry said that foreign carriers would be permitted to land the double-decker aircraft at four airports, including Mumbai and New Delhi.

“It’s a country of 1.2bn people and a market that’s growing,” Rao said at the Singapore Airshow. “The only way to meet that demand is with A380s.”

Emirates is the largest customer of the A380, which can carry up to 525 passengers, with 140 orders for the aircraft.

In a statement sent to Arabian Business last month, the airline said it would assess the possibility of flying the A380 into India in the near future.

“We welcome the decision of the Indian aviation authorities to allow A380 operations. Any decision to deploy an A380 on our network is dependent on passenger demand on that particular route as well as the ability of airports to handle the aircraft,” a spokesperson for Emirates told Arabian Business. “We will be reviewing our existing operations, and look forward to serving Indian travellers with our flagship aircraft in the near future.”

Both Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways’ first A380 are expected to enter service this year. Both airlines currently have ten of the jets on order.

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