Emirates is still waiting to hear whether it will be allowed to fly Airbus A380s into major Indian airports, but it does not think there will be a long-term holdup.

Both Emirates and Lufthansa have said they want to operate A380 routes to India, but so far the government has not approved the use of the aircraft at Indian airports. Local media are reporting that this is partly to protect Air India, which is due to receive its first A380 this year.

However, the Indian government has not formed a specific policy on A380s, says Andrew Parker, Emirates’ senior VP-international affairs. The government is “being cautious and taking its time” in studying the operational implications of A380 service, Parker tells Aviation Week at the Aviation Outlook Australia Pacific conference in Sydney. “We’ll be patient, [although] we want to fly the A380 [to India] as soon as possible,” Parker says.

India is an extremely important country in the Emirates network, and this is “a market designed for A380s,” says Parker. The carrier has already flown a demonstration flight to New Delhi last year, and both Delhi and Mumbai airports are among those that can handle the aircraft, Parker says.

The official stance of the Indian government is that it is considering whether to approve A380 operations at these airports. Parker says Emirates has not formally sought to begin A380 service but has been holding discussions with the government on the subject. Emirates is “certainly hopeful” that a decision will come soon, and is optimistic that the A380s will be approved, says Parker.