Air France Receives its First Airbus A380

 - October 30, 2009, 5:33 AM

Air France today took delivery of its first Airbus A380, the 20th delivered by Airbus since Singapore Airlines took the first superjumbo in October 2007. The French carrier expects to become the first European airline to fly the all-new, double-deck airliner when it begins scheduled services next month.

Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders officially handed over the aircraft during a delivery ceremony today in Hamburg, Germany, to Air France-KLM CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon and chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta. Engine Alliance president James Moravecek also took part in the ceremonies.

“Each A380 will enable Air France to save 12 to 15 million euros a year, which, in today’s depressed economic climate, provides the company with the means to withstand the crisis” said Gourgeon. “Air France will therefore be able to offer customers even greater comfort, while keeping costs under control. Furthermore, the performance of the A380 is in line with our environmental commitments.”

Powered by four Engine Alliance GP7200 engines delivering up to 72,000 pounds of thrust each, the A380 offers a range of more than 8,000 nm. Air France became the first airline to select GP7200 engines when it announced its order with the Engine Alliance at the Paris Air Show in 2001.    

Air France placed a firm order for 10 A380s at that time and added another two in 2007. The airline plans to launch A380 service with inaugural flights on November 20 and 21 on the Paris-New York-Paris route. The largest Airbus operator in Europe with a fleet of 183 aircraft, Air France-KLM now flies 34 A330/A340s and 149 A320-family aircraft. Air France took delivery of the first Airbus aircraft in 1974 and became the first carrier in the world to operate each member of the Airbus single-aisle A320 family.

Airbus reports holding 200 firm orders for the A380 from 16 customers. Ten of the model now fly with Singapore Airlines, five with Emirates and four with Qantas. These airplanes connect four continents via 13 international routes using 12 hub airports: Auckland, Bangkok, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Paris, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto. The A380 fleet has accumulated more than 75,000 revenue flight hours in over 7,900 commercial flights. More than 2.5 million passengers have flown on the airliner.