Following on from Singapore Airlines (see Online News, April 12) comes news from Air France and Emirates regarding their Airbus A380 super-jumbos.
The French flag-carrier says it will be the first European carrier to place the A380 in service during Spring 2009.
Air France is not prepared to divulge exact details of the plane's seat type or configuration, but it says its A380s will accommodate 538 passengers in a three class layout. Air France will locate 80 business and 106 economy class seats on the upper deck. Downstairs there will be space for just 9 first class seats but a whopping 343 seats for those in economy.
The carrier's 538 seat capacity is considerably more than proposed by Singapore Airlines which has said its A380s (due to enter service by the end of this year between Singapore and Sydney) will accommodate 480 passengers.
Air France's A380s will use a new boarding satellite at its Paris CDG hub. The first routes for the new A380 are expected to be New York JFK and Tokyo Narita.The carrier has ordered 12 A380s and these are expected to be delivered between Spring 2009 and Spring 2012.
Emirates will take delivery of its first A380 in August next year. Planned service entry is November 2008 with London, Sydney and New York tipped to be the first destinations served from its Dubai base.
Unlike other carriers, Emirates will operate its 40 plus A380 fleet in different configurations. Full details remain sketchy but the airline says the most spacious layout will be reserved for ultra-long routes from Dubai, namely those to Sydney, Melbourne and New York. Here passengers will travel on a 490-seat, three class A380.
Travellers on medium length routes, such as those to London Heathrow, will also find three classes but cabin density is upped slightly to 514 seats.
But on regional services, expected to be those shorter routes to the subcontinent and SE Asia, passengers will be faced with two-class flights (business and economy) in a whopping 644-seat layout.
Report by Alex McWhirter