Two officials from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India said that officials from Lufthansa recently moved an application seeking the start of A380 services from the winter 2014 schedule. The move will require a ‘minor change’ in the Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Germany, with the current system of flights per week likely being changed to seats per week and allowing A380 operations. Lufthansa currently utilises 46 of the 69 flights per week allowed under the India-Germany ASA.
“Lufthansa recently gave an application to start A380 services. A minor change is required in the ASA, which we are discussing with the External Affairs Ministry. There will be no change in weekly seat entitlements to Germany, so we expect this to be done by June,” the official said.
The airline further stated, “We change aircraft size according to demand in our long-haul markets and as we already operate all types of long-haul aircraft except the A380 to India, we are also looking forward to operating the A380 to India in the future. We have not yet decided when and where we will operate the aircraft to. We always aim to be able to offer our Indian customers our top products and we aim to be able to use the variety of all aircraft in our fleet in our long haul markets.” Lufthansa currently operates aircraft like the A330, A340-300, A340-600, A380, besides the Boeing 747-400 and B747-8.
Lufthansa will be the third and likely the last airline to start A380 services to India this year, after Singapore Airlines (SIA) starts daily flights to Mumbai and Delhi from May 30 and Emirates begins its A380 services to Mumbai from July. The addition of A380s have come about after the central government lifted the ban on the high-capacity aircraft in late January this year.
While SIA will focus on the Asian markets, Lufthansa and Emirates will be the only two airlines to offer connections from Indian metros to Europe and the US on the A380. At present, only four airports in the country, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, have the infrastructure to handle the super jumbo.