To cater to the burgeoning demand for international air travel from India and to take competition head on, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has diverted two of its marquee Airbus A380 aircraft from its Australian operations to the country.
A spokesperson for Singapore Airlines confirmed the development to FE.
According to David Lau, general manager of Singapore Airlines in India, there was an “urgent need” for SIA’s fleet in India, especially its line of four-engine A380s. “Not every market can appreciate A380s. India is more than ready,” Lau said.
The two A380s to be diverted to India were operational on the airline’s Singapore-Melbourne route till recently. Starting 30 May, these aircraft will fly between Delhi-Singapore-Delhi and Mumbai-Singapore-Mumbai daily.
“A380s will help bring down fares and improve the cost-competitiveness of the Indian tourism sector,” says Amber Dubey, partner and head of the aerospace and defence practice at international consulting firm KPMG.
“They will improve efficiency and capacity utilisation at Indian airports.”
After launching its new flights out of Delhi and Mumbai, SIA expects an increase in seat capacity on Delhi-Singapore route by 13%. SIA also plans to replace its fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft, currently operational on the route, with Airbus A330s, which should then increase seat capacity by 15.3%, says Lau.
However, on the Mumbai-Singapore route, SIA’s seat capacity is going to decline by around 9% as two Boeing 777s operational on this route at present will be replaced with a single A380.
Even other carriers in India, such as Air India, have been replacing Boeing 777 planes since it isn’t viable to fly the bigger 777s on shorter routes like Mumbai-Singapore. Singapore’s flagship carrier will get the deliveries of 5 more such aircraft in 2016. It currently has about 110 aircraft in its fleet and plans to resume the discontinued routes between Singapore and Australia after it gets deliveries of the new A380s.