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The civil aviation ministry has decided to hold consultations with all Indian carriers on the question of the Airbus A380 flying into the country.
This was decided in a meeting called by civil aviation secretary KN Srivastava and attended by director general of civil aviation Arun Mishra, Air India CMD Rohit Nandan, Airports Authority of India chairman VP Agarwal and ministry officials.
“We have decided in principle that our policies should not be restrictive. We have decided to soon meet all Indian carriers to take their views on the issue,” said a senior ministry official.
He added that a date and time for the same has not been decided yet. “One thing is clear that any permission to operate A380s would be allowed under the current seat entitlements in the bilateral weekly seat entitlements,” the official added.
Air India is opposed to the entry of the A380. Private carriers have not taken a stand on the issue.
Consultations on the issue marks a change of stance by the government, which hitherto was opposed to it on the ground that Indian carriers would find it difficult to compete with airlines operating these ultra-long haul aircraft.
The Indian Express had first reported in October last year that the government is likely to allow the entry of the A380 at Indian airports.
Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Emirates have sought permissions from the civil aviation ministry for operating A380 flights.
The largest by size, Airbus 380 is a double-decker aircraft that can seat 525 passengers in a three-class configuration. Currently, 85 aircraft are in service though no Indian carrier has ordered one yet.