India is so important a destination that German airline Lufthansa would pull out a super-jumbo A380 from one of its scheduled destinations to service the Delhi route, its CEO Carsten Spohr has said.
“We will take an aircraft from somewhere else but one of them will fly to New Delhi,” he said. “We would have put Delhi on the list of first seven destinations rather than some other destination if we had a choice.”
Lufthansa has applied to introduce the A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft at present, on its Delhi-Frankfurt route. It has been over a year but there has been no word from the Indian government. Sources said permission was unlikely to come anytime soon.
“Part of the reason why the government refuses permission is because the likes of Air India and Jet Airways cannot compete with such a big capacity competition,” felt Saj Ahmad, London-based airline analyst from FBE Aerospace.
Spohr was more circumspect. “It is difficult to say what is stopping (the government). We really don’t know,” he told Hindustan Times. Giving the example of San Francisco, where Lufthansa became the first airline to fly an A380 last month, he said, “The idea of attracting more passengers into the market and making investments is what the Americans really appreciated.”"It would have the same effect in Delhi that it has in San Francisco. That has been argument and we do understand that there are some doubts about that," he said.
The daily A380 Frankfurt-San Francisco flight creates 1,685 direct and indirect jobs, as compared to the 1,091 generated by a Boeing B777 Asia flight, the airline said.
“Lufthansa is desperate to operate the A380 to India for a variety of reasons: it’s a big and growing market, it has untapped demand and is one of a few countries capable of handling the jet,” Ahmad said.