Singapore Airlines will next month inaugurate A380 superjumbo services to both Mumbai and Delhi, it is expected.
Unless Emirates pips SIA to the post, and so far the Gulf airline has shown no sign of doing so, the Singaporean flag carrier will launch A380 service on May 30, according to local media.
Why has it taken A380 operators so long? It's because the Indian aviation authorities have been reluctant to allow foreign carriers to launch superjumbo service as it would put the country's airlines (none of whom have ordered the A380) at a competitive disadvantage (see news, January 27).
One daily A380 flight will operate from Singapore to both Mumbai and Delhi and will replace the existing B777 service. The other daily flight on both routes will be operated by one of SIA's B777-200s which, of course, lacks the passenger appeal of the A380.
SIA is a prudent housekeeper and, as we saw with its Zurich route, it is using the larger A380 in place of two existing B777 services.
The A380 will be rostered for flights SQ423 and SQ424 on the Singapore to Mumbai stretch. For Singapore to Delhi, the A380 will be deployed on flights SQ403 and SQ406.
Quoted by business-standard.com, David Lau, SIA's manager for India, said: "SIA was the first airline to operate the A380. The Singapore Airlines A380 not only has immense public appeal but also showcases our commitment to offer the best inflight experience to our Indian travellers."
SIA's A380 come with suites in first class and fully-flat beds in business class.
Only two other Indian airports, Hyderabad and Bangalore, can handle the A380 at the present time. So far, no A380 airline has indicated interest in serving these cities with the superjumbo.
With services from both the above-mentioned cities plus others both SIA and subsidiary Silk Air are major players in the Indian market for travel to Singapore and beyond.