In what otherwise has been a fairly quiet major trade air show for commercial-jet orders, a firm order for two super-jumbo A380s leads a list of four Airbus deals announced at the Dubai Airshow 2009 on November 16 and November 17.
Other deals from Nepal Airlines, Yemenia Airlines and Comlux add commitments for an A330-200 widebody and 12 single-aisle A320-family jets to the Airbus sales total for the two days.
Air Austral, based in Saint Denis, La Réunion, has converted a previously signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for two A380s into a firm order. The airline has chosen Engine Alliance GP7200 engines for its aircraft and will be the first carrier to operate the A380 in single-class, high-density seating configuration.
Air Austral’s A380s will seat some 840 passengers and the carrier will operate them on its high-density route from La Réunion to Paris.
“The A380 will offer the best comfort of any aircraft in a high-density configuration. With its spacious and extremely quiet cabins, we’ll enter a new era in terms of economic air travel,” says Gérard Ethève, President of Air Austral.
“Air Austral opens a new chapter for A380 operations. It will operate the A380 with the lowest fuel cost and emissions per passenger of any aircraft available today,” comments John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer customers.
In Air Austral’s single-class configuration, its A380s will demonstrate fuel consumption levels below two litres per passenger per 100 kilometres, according to Airbus.
Today 20 A380s are in service with four customers, connecting four continents on 13 major international routes. The in-service A380 fleet has accumulated over 82,000 revenue flight hours in over 8,700 commercial flights. Over 3 million passengers have already flown in the A380.
Orders for the A380, the world’s largest fixed-wing passenger aircraft, stand at 202 from 17 customers.