Air Austral to take 840-seat A380s in 2014

Toulouse
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Reunion-based carrier Air Austral is expected to take delivery of its all-economy Airbus A380s in 2014.

The carrier has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire two of the type, which will be configured with around 840 seats.

Speaking to Flightglobal premium sister publication ATI at a briefing in Toulouse today, Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy said the memorandum was "very strong" and that "only one or two contingencies" needed to be finalised.

He says he expects the airline to firm the order this year.

austral a380
 © Airbus

Air Austral president Gerard Etheve says the A380 will be able to "better connect" the Indian Ocean territory of Reunion with Paris "at a lower fare".

"Our vision is to provide a low-cost, high-quality service on this heavy traffic route," he says.

No specific arrangement for the upper and lower decks of the aircraft has been disclosed. The 840-seat, single-class configuration is by far the highest-density layout so far selected by an A380 customer.

The A380 is certified to accommodate up to 853 passengers following evacuation trials on the type three years ago.

Airbus claims that, with 840 seats, the A380 would burn less than 2 litres of fuel per passenger per 100km.

Air Austral's long-haul fleet comprises three Boeing 777-200s and the carrier is also leasing a pair of 777-300ERs.