The world’s biggest aircraft, the Airbus A-380, will be India in early May to join the second anniversary celebrations of Kingfisher Airlines on May 9 and conduct route proving (test) flights. Landing and taking off will not be a problem, maintain airport officials, but there is concern about finding proper parking space for it.
The A 380 is a double deck, four engine aircraft, capable of carrying 853 passengers, as high as a seven-storied building, with a vast wing span of 80 metres. Top officials at both the airports, specially from apron control and ATC are having last minute discussions to finalise the details of where and how it will be housed.
This Superjumbo will come in from Airbus’s base in Toulouse, France, and will have stopovers in Delhi and Mumbai for a couple of days, said airport officials.
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. A team of Airbus officials are expected to visit India, along with the aircraft, to facilitate smooth handing of the visit.
“The runways are fully capable of accommodating the movement of A-380. There is no need to 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.
But he added, “Where to park it? Anyway there is lack of parking space.” Currently the biggest aircraft that visits Mumbai and Delhi is the Russian made freighter Antonov AN-124. The biggest passenger aircraft is the Boeing 747-400.
The 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. Airport operators will charge Rs 2 lakh as landing fee every time it approaches for a landing. No final decision on identifying a suitable parking space has yet been taken.
“We ready, but details are being worked out,” said officials.