India Business
Giant A380 arrives in India on maiden visit
May 6, 2007 - 2:25:08 PM

New Delhi, May 6 - Airbus Industries' A380, touted as the world's largest commercial airplane, landed in India for the first time at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here around 1 p.m. Sunday as the private Kingfisher Airlines prepares to induct them into its growing fleet.

The aircraft, which was originally scheduled to arrive Monday, was immediately taken to the Haj terminal where the celebrations to mark the second anniversary of Kingfisher Airlines will take place.

Vijay Mallaya-owned Kingfisher has placed an order for five A380s with an option to buy five more at a later date, and the first of these aircraft will be inducted into its fleet in 2010-11, officials said.

'Kingfisher Airlines completes two immensely successful years of operations May 9, and the visit of A380 to coincide with Kingfisher's anniversary celebrations marks a major milestone for the airline and for Indian aviation,' a statement issued by the airline said.

The celebrations will be led by Mallaya, chairman of the liquor-to-airline major UB group, and will include John Leahy, chief operating officer for Airbus, who flew the A380 from the group's headquarters at Toulouse in France.

After demonstrations and sorties in the national capital, where compatibility tests are also planned with the Airports Authority of India -, the aircraft flies to Mumbai Wednesday for another set of Kingfisher's celebrations.

Airbus officials claim that the A380, which is 73 metres long with a wingspan of 15 metres and has a capacity of over 525 seats, entails a per-seat operating cost that is 15-20 percent lower than rivals.

'Airbus' A380 is simply the largest, most spacious and most economic airliner ever built,' the European manufacturer says.

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