Guadeloupe-based Air Caraïbes has signed a firm contract with Airbus for three A350-1000s.
The A350-1000 is the largest member of Airbus’ new-generation A350 XWB family.
Air Caraïbes (pronounced Carra-eeb) will also lease three new Airbus A350-900 widebodies from Los Angles-based leasing company ILFC, a majority share in which Amsterdam-headquarter AerCap Holdings (aleasing company particularly close to Airbus) agreed on December 16 to purchase from American International Group in 2014.
The airline’s’ six new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft will enter into service between 2016 and 2022.
Air Caraïbes’ A350-1000s will each seat 439 passengers in three classes, and its A350-900s will each seat 387 passengers.
The carrier will operate the aircraft on its routes from Paris to Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Marteen, Haïti, Saint-Domingue and French Guyana, which it currently flies using five Airbus A330 jets.
As overseas departments of France, Guadeloupe and Martinique are officially both part of France, while the other Caribbean nations and islands which Air Caraïbes serves make up the rest of the French Caribbean. Air Caraïbes serves as the international long-haul carrier for all the French Caribbean communities.
“We are delighted with our decision to buy A350-1000s”, says Jean-Paul Dubreuil, president of the supervisory board of Air Caraïbes. “We already benefit from the excellent performance and economics of our fleet of five A330s, and this new order for A350s will allow us to add capacity and give us an unrivaled economic advantage in a very competitive market.”
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide Body) is a new, mid-size, long-range line of widebody jets comprising three versions and seating from 270 to 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts and up to 440 in a three-class leisure configuration.
Including the new firm order from Air Caraïbes (which has one of the most attractive liveries of all long-haul airlines), the A350 XWB has already won firm orders for 817 aircraft from 37 customers worldwide.
Airbus expects the first member of the A350 XWB family, the A350-900, to enter service in the second half of 2014.