French low-cost carrier Air Austral has placed the first orders for an A380 configured to carry more than 800 passengers.
The two economy-only jets will fly from Paris to the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean with 840 passengers on board the double-decker aircraft.
Air Austral said it hoped to start operating the flight from 2014.
Speaking at the Dubai Airshow, Air Austral founder and chairman Gerard Etheve told Reuters:
“We are convinced that planes with good-priced tickets will help explode traffic figures.
“The A380 is great for high-density routes. We handle 550 people at the airports at the moment. Handling another 200 is not going to be difficult.”
Etheve said his long-term plans were to tap growth in China and India.
Although A380s are able to carry more than 800 passengers on board, most carry an average of 500.
The extra space is taken up with premium cabins which include in some cases first class suites and – in the case of Emirates – shower facilities.
The plane has been safety-tested for evacuating more than 800 people and with a full crew of 20 on board, it has been approved to carry up to 873 people.