Today at the Le Bourget Air Show, Air France signed a contract for the purchase of ten Airbus A380-800s and took out options on four others, thus confirming its commitment to the European manufacturer`s superjumbo airliner of the 21st century.
Air France`s first A380, scheduled for delivery in November 2006, will seat about 550 passengers in a very spacious three-class cabin interior. The airline intends to operate this aircraft on long-haul routes between Paris and North America and Asia, with the aim of gradually supplementing its fleet of B747-400s to meet the growth in traffic.
Furthermore, Air France is the first airline to choose the new engine GP7200 manufactured by Engine Alliance to power its A380s. With a thrust rating of 76,500 pounds, this engine is the result of a partnership between engine manufacturers Pratt & Whitney and General Electric in cooperation with SNECMA.
” With the extra space for our passengers, this new aircraft will give Air France the opportunity to transform travel conditions. The future standards of comfort and space of this plane, coupled with our objectives in terms of environmental protection, will make this plane the ideal solution to match our growth at the start of this new Millennium “, declared Air France Chairman, Jean-Cyril Spinetta.
” We are extremely honored that Air France, one of our best customers and one of the world`s leading airlines, should have chosen to be one of the first operators of the new A380”, added No‘l Forgeard, Chairman of Airbus. ” And we are proud that our aircraft will be playing a key role in the ongoing development of this prestigious airline “.
As soon as it goes into service in 2006, the A380 will boast all the advantages of a revolutionary concept, while extending the current strengths of the Airbus family to the superjumbo sector. Designed to meet the strictest and most recent certification requirements, the A380 uses the latest in state-of-the-art technology. In addition, it offers direct operating costs that are considerably less than those of the biggest airliners operating today, as well as increased autonomy.