Emirates and Lufthansa are in a race to secure Mumbai airport's only parking bay, which can handle the Airbus A380 aircraft. Both the airlines are keen to operate the super jumbo aircraft to Mumbai but Mumbai International Airport Ltd has not taken a decision yet on allocating the bay for winter schedule, which will commence from October-end.
Currently, Singapore Airlines operates Airbus A380 flights to Delhi and Mumbai and Emirates flies A380 planes to Mumbai. Now Lufthansa also wants to introduce Airbus A380 services to both Mumbai and Delhi and is awaiting government approvals. While Lufthansa is yet to make a formal announcement, the airline's winter time table shows that Frankfurt-Mumbai and Frankfurt-Delhi will be operated by Airbus A380 instead of Boeing 747 planes.
"We are pleased to say that in view of the growing demand we plan to introduce the A380 in Mumbai and Delhi subject to government approval. We have applied for permission and are hopeful of getting government approvals soon,'' said Lufthansa in a statement.
On the other hand Emirates's time table for winter as of now shows it will operate all five flights on Dubai-Mumbai route with Boeing 777 planes. According to sources Emirates was allocated the bay for its A380 flight during summer schedule and would have to make a fresh application for the bay for winter schedule.
MIAL had granted the only A380/B747-8 bay to Emirates in summer schedule turning down the demand from Lufthansa which wanted to fly its Boeing 747-8 in summer.
Emirates executives are discussing the issue with Mumbai airport and are also working on alternate plans in case it does not get the bay for its early morning flight which lands in Mumbai at 2.30 a.m. This includes using the Airbus A380 for another flight during the day.
"Emirates will continue to operate its iconic A380 aircraft on the Dubai-Mumbai route for the remainder of the summer 2014 timetable as planned, as flight numbers EK500/EK501. Details of the airline's winter timetable which is due to commence on 26 October are still being finalised and further information will be shared later this month,'' the airline spokesperson said in a statement.
Mumbai airport has only one in-contact bay for A380 or 747-8 type plane and it can handle only plane of that type at a time. "We are creating more bays, which will address the issue in a period of 15 months from now,'' MIAL spokesperson had earlier said. It did not comment on which airline will be allotted the A380 bay in winter in a query mailed on Monday.