Currently, the airline employs the Boeing 777 aircraft to operate its three daily flights each to Mumbai and Delhi. "One of these flights in both these airports will be operated by an A380 aircraft from May 30 onwards," said a source.
"The Singapore Airlines flight that lands in Mumbai at 9.55 pm and departs at 12.25am is likely to be operated with the A380. The DGCA has not yet confirmed the slot," he added.
Singapore Airline along with its subsidiary SilkAir operates 107 weekly flights from 11 cities in India.
David Lau, general manager, India, Singapore Airlines said: "We are keen to fly the A380 to India and are currently evaluating our plans. We'll be in a position to confirm details once plans are firmed up."
The A380, the largest passenger carrier in the world, is distinguishable by its two decks that run along the length of its fuselage. What makes the A380 an attention grabber is also the fact that it can ferry up to 853 economy-class passengers, which is an ambitious number for any vehicle of public transport. Rajdhani Express, for instance, has only 750 seats. For now, the ten airlines that operate it do so in three class configurations of first, second and third class and so the aircraft flies with about 500 to 550 seats.
Currently, there are 124 A380s in operation worldwide, including the 19 A380s owned by Singapore Airlines. None of the Indian carriers operate this aircraft, which is why the Indian government had restricted the superjumbo's entry into the country.
Indian carriers fear that the foreign airlines with their humungous A380s will devour their market. On January 27 the ministry of civil aviation lifted the ban to allow foreign airlines to operate A380 flights into India. With that began the guessing game as the Indian aviation industry watched every relevant development to know which of the three interested foreign carriers will be the first to launch A380 flights into India. The front runner was Dubai-based Emirates, followed by Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa.
While the Singapore Airlines' inaugural flights will be met with much fanfare at the Mumbai and Delhi airports, what needs to be registered here is that the superjumbo would be flying into India over six years after it began its commercial passenger flight operations. Singapore Airlines, the launch customer got its first A380 in October 2007. To date some 50 million passengers have already flown on an A380 as every five minutes, an A380 either takes off or lands at one of the 34 airports where it operates today.
Compare that to the India launch of the other most recognizable passenger aircraft in the world, the Boeing 747, popularly called the jumbo jet. It began operating commercial flights in 1970 with Pan Am as its launch customer. A year later, national carrier Air India, which had placed an order for ten Boeing 747s, brought in the first jumbo jet into country.