Recently an Emirates A-380 aircraft, while on a scheduled flight from Sydney to Dubai, made an emergency landing at Hyderabad airport. This was the fourth instance of the A-380 landing and taking off safely from Indian airports.
All the A-380 flights into India have been special flights, but the largest commercial aircraft has landed and taken off from three different airports. In 2007, Airbus brought the aircraft into Delhi as a special flight for Kingfisher Airlines; the plane then went to Mumbai. The following year the aircraft landed in Hyderabad to take part in the maiden edition of the Hyderabad air show. In fact, at that time the aircraft landed at the now defunct Begumpet airport where the air show was held and then took a short flight to the newly opened Shamshahbad airport before departing for its home base in France.
Yet, Indian authorities have not given permission to global airlines to operate the A-380 to India as part of their scheduled operations. And this when data from Airbus show that the A-380 operates to 11 of the top 15 international airports including in the Asia-Pacific region at Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Bangkok. Besides it operates to Beijing, Auckland and Melbourne.
Currently, the Dubai-based Emirates, German carrier Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines are said to be interested in operating the A-380 into India.
So what is preventing Indian authorities from allowing the A-380 from landing as part of normal scheduled operations by international airlines?
Officially sources say that the Indian market is not yet mature enough to handle the A-380, each aircraft of which can seat up to 550 passengers. Unofficially, the fear is that letting the A-380 fly commercially would mean that airlines in India will not be able to face the competition.