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  • PICTURE: First Airbus A340-500 for India's Kingfisher takes off

PICTURE: First Airbus A340-500 for India's Kingfisher takes off

The first of five Airbus A340-500s ordered by Kingfisher Airlines has begun test flying in Toulouse ahead of delivery to the Indian carrier.

Kingfisher, a subsidiary of India’s UB Group which launched operations as a domestic low-fare carrier in 2005, ordered the five A340-500s in 2006, and plans to use the ultra-long-range aircraft on non-stop services from India to the USA.


© French Frogs Aviation Pictures

However Kingfisher is currently barred from operating international flights under Indian Government rules that prevent privately owned airlines from doing so until completing five years of continuous operations.It will meet that requirement in August 2008 as it is merging with Indian low-cost carrier Deccan, which launched in August 2003. The Government is also looking at easing the five-year restriction.

Last month Indian newspaper the Financial Express reported that Kingfisher planned to temporarily wet-lease four of the A340-500s it has on order to Air India, ahead of it being cleared to launch international flights.

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