The Mumbai airport is set to be the first airport in the country to see the world’s largest commercial aircraft — the Airbus 380, with the civil aviation ministry allowing A380 operations in the country by foreign carriers in a phased manner.
“We have decided to allow foreign carriers to bring in Airbus 380s in a phased manner. It has been decided that Mumbai will be the first airport, where operation by Airbus 380s will be allowed,” said a senior ministry official, who attended a meeting here on the issue.
He added that a decision in favour of Mumbai was taken as the city is getting a new international terminal that would be inaugurated in January.
Allowing carriers to operate Airbus 380s into India would be a change of stance by the government, which has, till now, stopped airlines from flying these planes into India. Lufthansa, Emirates and Singapore Airlines are three international carriers, who have shown interest in operating the jumbo aircraft into India.
The decision came through at the meeting attended by aviation secretary KN Srivastava, Directorate General of Civil Aviation Arun Mishra, Airports Authority of India chairman VP Agrawal, Air India chairman and managing director Rohit Nandan and joint secretary Prabhat Kumar.
A final decision on the issue will be taken by the civil aviation minister Ajit Singh.
The decision by the committee follows a verdict by the civil aviation regulator, after reviewing a study conducted by International Air Transport Association (IATA), which concluded that allowing foreign airlines to operate the jumbo aircraft would not “distort” the Indian market.
The A380 is the largest plane by size and the double-deck aircraft has a seating capacity for over 525 passengers in a three-class configuration. Around 85 such planes operate across the world but none of the Indian carriers have ordered Airbus 380s so far.