The global airline has announced it would place its Airbus A380 Super Jumbo on its Paris Charles De Gaulle – Abidjan route starting next winter peek season. Beginning October 26th 2014 and running through at least March 28th 2015, Air France A380s will each week, conduct three of the carrier’s once daily rotations to the capital of Ivory Coast. The employment of the A380 will boost capacity on the route which is normally operated by the carrier’s highly popular Boeing 777-300ER, Air France’s long haul workhorse. The 777-300ERs are set to keep operating the route 4 times every week. On this route, the 777-300ER Air France has deployed have been configured with 325 seats in a three classes arrangement consisting of 8 First Class seats, 67 flat bed Business Class seats and 250 Economy Class seats. In comparison the A380 can provide accommodation for 538 passengers. On the main deck, there is space for 9 First Class seats along with 343 Economy seats. While the upper deck offers 80 Business Class seats and another 106 Economy Class seats. The carrier has long stated that the A380s allowed to combine the capacity offered by an Airbus A340-300 and a Boeing 777-200 (both long haul aircraft it operates) albeit with a 20% reduction in operating costs.
With the introduction of the A380 aircraft on the Ivory Coast market, Abidjan becomes the African’s continent second A380 destination after Johannesburg but also the first in West Africa. Air France believes it can remain dominant on the economically promising West African market where more than 300 million people reside.
During a forum promoting foreign investment in Ivory Coast held this past January in Abidjan, Air France revealed its intentions of bringing the large plane there on a more regular basis. For the event, it conducted a promotional flight while carrying on board some 429 forum attendees including Air France’s president. The attention gathered upon the plane’s arrival held all the pronouncements of an officially sanctioned inaugural flight.