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A-380 to visit India in early May

World's biggest aircraft will visit India to join the second anniversary celebrations of Kingfisher Airlines, reports L Mishra.

business Updated: Apr 25, 2007 19:01 IST


World's biggest aircraft, the Airbus A-380 is scheduled to visit India in early May to conduct route proving (testing) flights and to join the second anniversary celebrations of Kingfisher Airlines on May 9.

A-380, the double deck, four engine aircraft will be flying non stop from Airbus's base in Toulouse, France and will have stopovers in Delhi and Mumbai for a couple of days, said airport officials on condition of anonymity.

They said the main purpose of the visit is to join the celebrations of Kingfisher Airlines, which is expected to be in true Vijay Mallya style. After landing in Delhi, the aircraft will conduct two special flights for VIPs before heading for Mumbai. It will be parked near the international terminals at both airports.

Kingfisher is the only airliner from India that has placed firm orders for five A-380s with an option to buy five more. An advanced team of Airbus officials are expected to visit India to facilitate smooth handing of the visit.

There is lot of excitement among airport officials to receive this aircraft, whose height is as high as a seven-storied building and its wing span is as wide as 80 meters. Though airport authorities do not find any difficulty in handing the landing and take off of this Superjumbo, there is concern on finding suitable space for parking. Top officials at both the airports, especially from apron control and ATC are having last minute discussions to finalise the details.

"The runways are fully capable of accepting the movement of A-380 and there is no need to neither strengthen them nor enhance their length. As compared to medium sized aircraft, which take off after 60 per cent rolling on the runway, it will roll over 90 per cent of the runway before take off due to its heavy weight," said an airport official.

He added, "But where to park it? Anyway there is lack of parking space." Currently the biggest aircraft that visits Mumbai and Delhi is Russian made freighter Antonov AN-124. The biggest passenger aircraft is Boeing 747-400.

A-380 is so huge that it would occupy the parking space of two and half medium sized aircraft like the Boeing 737 or A-320. The airport operators will charge Rs 2 lakh as landing fee every time it would approach for a landing. Till Wednesday there was no final decision on identifying a suitable parking space. "We ready, but details are being worked out," said officials.

Streams of onlookers are likely to head to the airport to have a glimpse of this aircraft, which has seating capacity of 853 passengers in the full economy class configuration.