From Aviation Week Online http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gene...ine=India Still Not Ready To Accommodate A380 May 17, 2011 By Jay Menon International airlines are facing headwinds from the Indian aviation ministry following the administration’s decision not to allow the Airbus A380 to fly into the country. The Ministry of Civil Aviation withheld permission for foreign airlines because the country’s airport infrastructure is not adequate to handle the movement of the A380. “It might cause chaos at the airports. The height of the aerobridge is not adequate; the taxiing stands also need to be widened,” a senior official at the ministry tells Aviation Week. The government’s move has put Lufthansa’s route planning arrangements in jeopardy and has caused concern in the Gulf states, where airlines have designed much of their networks around servicing the long-haul travel needs of India’s growing population. “We applied for the ministry’s permission two years ago but still haven’t received a yes or a no,” a spokesman at Lufthansa says. The airline, which had recently increased its flights from Frankfurt and Munich to New Delhi, was expecting to secure the permission soon as it had factored in an A380 for India in its route planning. Currently, Lufthansa has seven of these aircraft and was planning to deploy the new jet on the Indian route from May. The airline official has also rejected the ministry’s argument about the lack of proper airport infrastructure saying: “The Terminal 3 airport in New Delhi was constructed to accommodate the A380.” Lufthansa Plans Delayed Lufthansa was expected to start flying the A380 on the Delhi-Frankfurt route with the opening of T3 in July 2010. “We are ready to bring the Airbus into the country. Our preparations will start when we get a go-ahead,” the Lufthansa official says. Airport operators and industry experts are also dismissive of the ministry’s argument that Indian airports lack the facilities to handle aircraft that large. “There are other contentious issues like Indian carriers expressing their objections to the A380 operating into the country,” Ansgar Sickert, managing director of Fraport India, owner of a stake in GMR Infrastructure Ltd., the operator of New Delhi’s airport, says. “Some domestic airlines that fly to Europe are worried that the A380 would take away passengers from their routes, with travelers lured by the new aircraft and attractive fares that are possible with the larger, more economical plane.” Indian carriers have often blamed foreign carriers of “stealing” passenger traffic from the country. Foreign airlines carry almost 70% of onward traffic from India to international destinations, according to aviation industry estimates. Carriers such as Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Qantas are also keen to fly their newly acquired fleet to India, which has become one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets. In May 2007 Emirates conducted A380 test flights to Delhi and Mumbai and operated a proving flight from Dubai to Delhi to authenticate the demand. Last July Emirates became the first international carrier to fly an A380 flight into India, during a one-day celebration of the opening of Terminal 3 at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. At the time, Emirates web site said New Delhi was a target city for the A380. Kapil Kaul, chief executive of the Indian unit of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation in New Delhi, says the Indian government was taking a cautious approach in not consenting to the A380’s flight into India. “The entry of the super jumbo will bring in more competition for domestic carriers like Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines,” Kaul says. Kingfisher Airlines is the only Indian carrier to have signed a contract with Airbus for five A380s. The first aircraft is expected to enter service around 2016.