Air France's first Airbus A380 is fitted in three-class configuration, although the carrier plans to have its entire long-haul fleet converted to to a four-class layout by the end of 2010.

The first A380 could not be fitted out with the extra 'Premium Voyageur' cabin owing to production delays. But it may be possible to fit Air France's second and third examples - which are in fit-out at Airbus's Hamburg completion centre - with a four-class layout.

© Air France
Air France A380 La Première cabin

Air France, however, is not commenting on delivery of further A380s except to say that it will have four by the close of the next winter travel season. Its fourth and fifth A380s are "on their wheels" in Toulouse, says Airbus chief Tom Enders. The carrier ordered 12.

Air France has already introduced 'Premium Voyageur' on Boeing 777s serving New York. The cabin is the first to offer 'shell' seats in an intermediate class, says the airline.

By swapping 40 'Voyageur' economy seats for 20 'Premium Voyageur' seats the carrier can offer 40% more space.

Air France says it has three weapons against the economis crisis: the A380, 'Premium Voyageur' and its joint venture with SkyTeam partner Delta Air Lines. A spokesman says it is more important to put the A380s into service than to fit all of them with four-class cabins.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news