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Third Air France A380 to reinforce Johannesburg

Air France is to take delivery of its third Airbus A380 in April and use the jet to conduct a daily A380 operation on its Johannesburg route.

The SkyTeam carrier is to start flying the A380 on its Paris Charles de Gaulle-Johannesburg route today, following delivery of its second of the type last week.

Air France has been serving the route 10 times per week with Boeing 777s.

But three of its flights each week will instead be flown by the A380 until 28 March.

The frequency will then be taken down to daily, but Air France will offset this capacity reduction by putting its third A380 on the route in April.

Air France says the 538-seat aircraft allows it to "rationalise" frequencies, replacing two flights departing within a short time with a single service.

ATI is accompanying the inaugural Johannesburg A380 flight, which marks the first African route for the double-deck aircraft.

But Air France - which started A380 operations to New York last November - has shelved plans to deploy it to Dubai.

An Air France spokesman says the link had originally been proposed as a training route for A380 pilots. Emirates has since begun its own Dubai-Paris A380 service.

Tokyo will be the third city served by Air France's A380 fleet. This route will be introduced with Air France's fourth A380, although a spokesman for the airline says it has not determined a more precise date for delivery beyond "the end of summer 2010".

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