Aviation ministry allows operation of Airbus A-380s

The restriction, which was lifted by civil aviation ministry after several years of demands by these major foreign carriers, was imposed in 2008 as the government then felt these double-decker, wide-body and long-haul jets would help foreign airlines to take away a large chunk of global traffic which could be detrimental to the Indian carriers’ interests.

The A-380s would now be allowed to airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, which are currently equipped to handle them and have the required infrastructure. All these airports would have to get DGCA certification and make adequate preparation in terms of various services required to handle the large number of passengers these planes can accommodate when they land or take off.

The decision was immediately welcomed by aircraft manufacturer Airbus, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), Singapore Airlines and Emirates. The foreign airlines have been pressing the government on the issue since 2008-09. Nine of the 10 international airlines that fly the A-380s have scheduled flights into India. There are over 110 A-380s currently flying worldwide.

Several round of meetings were held between officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Air India and Airports Authority of India and others in the Ministry on these issues before the decision was taken. An A-380 can seat 850 passengers in an all-economy configuration, but those having a three-class configuration can accommodate between 550-600 passengers. The operations of the A-380s would be subject to overall traffic entitlements within the bilateral Air Service Agreements (ASAs) with different countries, an official spokesperson said.

‘Free Sunder’ drive sparked by elephant’s plight

The plight of a 14-year-old elephant in custody of a prominent temple in Kolhapur district of western Maharashtra has sparked demands for its release with many Bollywood celebrities joining the cause while an NGO has moved the high court.People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court seeking release of the pachyderm, Sunder, which is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday. So far, prominent Bollywood personalities including Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, R Madhavan, Raveena Tandon among others have backed the cause for Sunder’s release. Actor Arjun Rampal has now joined them by donating two billboards for the campaign.
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