|Air France has taken delivery of its first Airbus A380. The French carrier is the first European airline to fly the all-new double-deck aircraft on scheduled services. The aircraft is the twentieth A380 delivered by Airbus. The aircraft was handed over in a delivery ceremony today in Hamburg, Germany, to Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, Chief Executive Officer of Air France KLM and to Jean-Cyril Spinetta, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Air France KLM, by Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO, and in the presence of James Moravecek, Engine Alliance President.
At the ceremony Air France unveiled its spacious and comfortable cabin, featuring 538 seats in a three class configuration (nine First, 80 Business and 449 Voyageur Economy). The cabin features innovative mood lighting with several different lighting scenarios to create a calm atmosphere and environment for its passengers.
“Each A380 will enable Air France to save 12 to 15 million euros a year, which, in today’s depressed economic climate, provides the Company with the means to withstand the crisis” said Pierre-Henri Gourgeon Chief Executive Officer of Air France KLM.” Air France will therefore be able to offer customers even greater comfort, while keeping costs under control. Furthermore, the performance of the A380 is in line with our environmental commitments”, he added.
“This delivery marks another milestone in the longstanding history and partnership between Air France and Airbus,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “It fills us with great pride that our first ever aircraft customer is now also the first European airline to operate the A380.We are convinced the A380 will greatly contribute to Air France’ continued success.”
The aircraft is powered by four Engine Alliance GP7200 engines delivering up to 72,000 lbs of thrust each. The A380 has an unmatched fuel efficiency, consuming less than three litres per 100 kilometres per passenger. Thanks to excellent aerodynamic performance, the A380complies with today’s strictest noise limits, and also makes it the quietest large aircraft flying today. The all new double deck aircraft generates only half as much noise on take-off and landing as the previous largest passenger aircraft. The A380 provides also vital extra passenger capacity without increasing the number of flights, and is therefore part of the solution for sustainable growth at congested airports
The aircraft’s efficient performance and industry leading technology result in higher operational flexibility and outstanding operational economics. With a range of more than 15,000 km/8,000 nm and seat-mile costs 20 per cent lower than its closest competitor.
Air France ordered 10 A380s in June 2001 and added another two in 2007.
Air France’s first A380 will start its commercial service with inaugural flights on the 20th and 21st November on the Paris – New York – Paris route. As the largest Airbus operator in Europe with a fleet of 183 aircraft, the airline currently operates 34 A330 and A340 aircraft as well as 149 A320 family aircraft. Air France took delivery of the first Airbus aircraft in 1974 and was also the first carrier in the world to operate aircraft from the entire Airbus Single-Aisle A320 Family.
The new Air France A380 is the 20th A380 delivered by Airbus – 10 are already flying with Singapore, five with Emirates and four with Qantas. These aircraft are connecting four continents on 13 major international routes. Today 12 major international hub-airports around the world regularly welcome the A380 including: Auckland, Bangkok, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto.
Up to now, the A380 fleet has accumulated over 75,000 revenue flight hours in over 7,900 commercial flights. Over 2,5 million passengers have already enjoyed flying the A380.
Airbus has won 200 firm A380 orders from 16 customers worldwide, including Air France.