New Delhi, Jan 27 IANS | 11 months ago

The Indian government Monday removed restrictions on the operations of Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft, in the country.

"Now, flights of A380 to India will be allowed to airports which are equipped to handle them. The decision has been taken after due consultations with the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation), Air India and Airports Authority of India," the civil aviation ministry said in a statement.

According to the ministry, the operations of A380 aircraft would be subject to overall traffic entitlements within the bilateral air service agreements (ASA) between India and home countries of airlines which operate the aircraft type.

The ministry also said that aircraft operations to India are allowed by changing the current criterion of traffic rights from that of services per week allotted to airlines to that of seats per week that can be operated.

The said changes will be done through mutual negotiations that will be enshrined in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) before the A380 operations are allowed.

"It has also been decided that wherever the entitlements are not expressed in terms of seats per week, the same should be rationalised and converted into seats per week before allowing A380 operations to India from these countries," the ministry said.

"If any ASA specifically prohibits operation of A380 to India, the same will also be required to be amended before A380 operations from that country are allowed."

The ministry expects that permitting A380 operations in India will provide airport operators opportunity to generate extra revenue besides affording passengers more travel options.

The ministry added that at present only four airports -- Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore -- have the required infrastructure for handling A380 operations. These airports shall have to get DGCA certification and make adequate preparation before the start of the aircraft's operations.

Currently, Singapore Airline, Emirates and Lufthansa are said to be interested in operating A380 aircrafts in India on various international routes.

At present no Indian passenger carrier operates the A380 aircraft. The now defunct Kingfisher Airlines had placed an order for five Airbus A380 aircraft. However, the company's operating licence was cancelled in 2012 on safety issues before the delivery of any of the aircraft.

The super jumbo Airbus A380 can accommodate up to 525 passengers in a comfortable three-class configuration, and up to 853 in a single-class configuration that provides wider seats than any of its competitors.

In single-class configuration the main deck of the aircraft can seat 538 passengers, while the upper deck has space for 315 passengers. The wide-body aircraft has two decks which offer 50 percent more floor space than other high-capacity aircraft.

According to Airbus Industries, the aircraft which has a superior range of 15,700 km is ideal for alleviating traffic congestion at busy airports.

(Posted on 27-01-2014)

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