Airbus A380 makes its SA debut

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Air France has made aviation history with the arrival of the world’s largest airliner, the Airbus A380 at OR Tambo Airport. Travelling over 13 000 km from Paris to Johannesburg, with a maximum capacity of 538 passengers, Air France is the first European carrier to operate this Super jumbo and the first airline anywhere, to offer flights between Europe and South Africa with this aircraft.

In a statement, Air France says it recognises the importance of the African route with South Africa hosting the upcoming 2010 World Cup. “The introduction of the A380 will bring an added benefit to the clients of Air France KLM, by offering a choice of 24 weekly flights to and from South Africa, with a range of fast connections through the hubs of Paris – Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol Airports.”

Passengers will therefore have a choice of 14 weekly flights to Africa‘s economic hub Johannesburg, and seven weekly flights to Cape Town until March 28. “Air France will also introduce an additional 15 Boeing 777 flights during the FIFA World Cup in June and July to meet the public demand for seat capacity.”

Etienne Rachou, Senior Vice President Africa & Middle East Air France KLM says it “is
important to us that the first Air France Airbus A380 flight should not only be the symbol of
state-of-the-art technology for the benefit of our South African customers, but also a symbol
of solidarity.

Air France’s A380 offers passengers three classes of travel: La Première-First – nine seats on the main deck – Affaires-Business – 80 seats on the upper deck – and Voyageur-Economy 449 seats spread over the two decks. In each remarkably quiet cabin, Air France has created an intimate soothing ambience, thanks to adjustable lighting suited to the different stages of the flight, Air France adds. The crew consists of three pilots and 22 flight attendants.