Boeing has delivered a new 737-800 to the Réunion-based carrier Air Austral, as part of the airline’s modernization plan for its medium-haul fleet.
The aircraft is the first of two 737-800s which Air Austral ordered to replace one 737-300 and one 737-500 in its fleet.
Boeing says Air Austral’s new 737-800s continues a relationship between the manufacturer and Air Austral which began 20 years ago with the deliveries of the carrier’s 737 Classics.
The delivery ceremony at Boeing Field in Seattle was attended by Gerard Etheve, president of the directory and chief executive officer of Air Austral.
Air Austral is headquartered in St. Denis, Réunion, a French Department island located east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.
The airline made headlines in 2009 by ordering two Airbus A380 super-jumbos. Air Austral became the first airline to say it would operate the A380 in single-class, high-density seat configuration.
If Air Austral sticks to this plan, its A380s will each seat some 840 passengers and will board the biggest passenger loads of any aircraft in the world. The carrier plans to operate the A380s on its most important long-haul route, which links St. Denis with Paris.
In late 2009 Air Austral ordered the two 737-800s and then during the Farnborough International Airshow 2010 the airline revealed it had ensured the completion of its fleet renewal by ordering two Boeing 777-200LR ultra-long-haul widebodies.
Air Austral already operates two Boeing 777-300ERs and is due to take delivery of a third on lease early in 2011.
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