Emirates Airline showed off its Airbus A380 at the India Aviation show in Hyderabad this week in anticipation of the long-awaited start of A380 commercial flights to the country. [Photo: Neelam Mathews]
March 12, 2014, 3:57 PM
Airbus has bolstered its presence in India with the appointment of Srinivasan Dwarakanath as CEO of Airbus India. The European airframer’s local subsidiary also has a new chairman in the shape of Charles Champion, who is the parent company’s executive vice president for Engineering and a member of the executive committee. The existing Airbus liaison office in New Delhi will remain under the leadership of Ajay Mehra.
Dwarakanath was responsible for setting up Airbus’ industrial footprint in the region including the Airbus Engineering Centre India (AECI) and Airbus Training India (ATI), both located in Bangalore. There are some 30 Indian suppliers working on Airbus programs and manufacturing parts for every aircraft model. “Building on our significant engineering presence in India, the new company structure will add a strong customer base,” said Dwarakanath.
Indian carriers operate a fleet of over 170 Airbus aircraft. Airbus’ current market share of sales in India represents over 60 percent of the country’s total aircraft backlog, according to the company.
At this week’s India Aviation show in Hyderabad, Emirates Airline celebrated the Indian government’s belated approval of the Airbus A380 for flights into India by showing off its own example of the widebody in the flying display. The aircraft, with its 262-foot wingspan, dwarfed many of the other exhibits on display.
“The Emirates’ A380 is already popular among Indian travelers around the world connecting through our Dubai hub to one of our current 26 A380 destinations,” said Majid Al Mualla, the airline’s senior vice president for commercial operations. “In fact, many of our customers consciously select flights operated by an Emirates A380, because they simply love the experience and onboard we have equipped it with the latest facilities to ensure travelers in all classes enjoy a superb travel experience. We look forward to expanding our list of A380 destinations as we continue to receive delivery of this aircraft.”
Mumbai is expected to be the first Indian destination for the Emirates A380. “Our customers in India are eager to try our A380 services and we have worked closely with the Indian authorities to make this possible,” added Al Mualla. “Any decision to deploy an A380 on our network is dependent on passenger demand on that particular route as well as the ability of airports to handle the aircraft. We will be reviewing our existing operations, and look forward to serving Indian travelers with our flagship aircraft in the near future.”