Singapore Airlines Ltd.C6L.SG +0.68% will be the first commercial carrier to operate Airbus A380 superjumbos into India next month, after authorities there lifted a years-long ban on the world’s biggest jetliner.
Singapore’s flag carrier says starting from May 30 it will deploy the double-decker A380, which seats up to 471 passengers, on daily flights to New Delhi and Mumbai, India’s two largest aviation hubs.
Those flights will replace two existing daily services currently flown by smaller Boeing 777 aircraft that are timed about 90 minutes apart, helping boost cost efficiencies for the airline. Another daily 777 service to both cities will remain unchanged, according to the airline.
Major airlines have been lobbying to fly the A380 into India since the aircraft’s commercial launch more than six years ago. Analysts say it will help alleviate worsening congestion at India’s major international gateways, particularly since the number of passengers is expected to rise in the coming years.
More In Singapore Airlines
Entry of Foreign Airlines Will Benefit Travelers
Tata Set to Take-Off Back into Aviation
Tata Group Charts Return to the Skies
Air India Bets on Frugal Indian Consumer
India prevented the A380’s entry for years because the government feared that foreign carriers would gobble up passenger traffic from state-owned Air India and other domestic carriers using the large planes. None of India’s carriers operate the jumbo jet.
India’s civil-aviation ministry finally lifted the unofficial ban in January, permitting A380 flights to and from New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore as part of efforts to liberalize the aviation sector and revive growth.
Nine of the 10 airlines that currently operate A380s have scheduled flights into India, with at least five having expressed interest in flying the large jet into the country.