In a bid to get a headstart on international operations, which it will be eligible to commence in 2008, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd is asking Airbus SAS to advance delivery of the five A380s it has ordered.
Kingfisher has placed five firm orders for the A380, the world’s largest commercial airliner, with deliveries scheduled for 2011-12.
“We have requested Airbus to advance the deliveries of these planes to 2009-end,” said a Kingfisher executive familiar with the development, who did not wish to be identified.
The executive added that the A380s would be used for non-stop flights between India and the US, and on other long-haul routes.
Vijay Mallya, CEO of Kingfisher, confirmed that the company was “trying” to advance the deliveries. Airbus SAS executive vice-president (marketing & contracts, customer affairs) Kiran Rao said he couldn’t comment on the issue at this stage. It is unclear if Airbus could advance deliveries of the A380.
Until October, the aircraft manufacturer had received firm orders for 165 A380s.
According to rules governing the civil aviation business in India, only airlines with an experience of at least five years can operate flights on international routes.
Kingfisher will complete five years in 2010.
However, UB Group, the parent of Kingfisher Airlines, has a controlling stake of around 46% in Deccan Aviation Ltd, which runs Simplifly Deccan (formerly Air Deccan). And Simplifly Deccan completes five years in 2008.
Kingfisher Airlines has sought the government’s permission to fly to the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, South Africa, China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and some key destinations in West Asia.
Kingfisher Airlines is the only Indian customer for the A380. It is also the largest Airbus customer in India, following its acquisition of a controlling stake in Deccan Aviation.
Kingfisher has the rights to buy five more A380s.
The mammoth plane with a double-level cabin can seat 555 passengers in a three-class configuration. In an all-economy class configuration, it can accommodate 853 passengers.