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Air France launches A380 Flights to Johannesburg

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Air France has launched Airbus A380 services between Johannesburg and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. The Airbus A380, equipped with 538 seats in three cabin classes – La Première (First), Affaires (Business) and Voyageur (Economy) – will operate three of the ten weekly Air France services between Paris and Johannesburg up to 28 March 2010.

From 28 March, Air France will operate seven weekly frequencies between Paris and Johannesburg including three by A380 until the third A380 is put into service, scheduled for the end of April. The route will then be entirely operated by A380.

“The entry into service of the A380 between Paris and Johannesburg, just after New York in November 2009, illustrates the importance Air France attaches to its services to Africa and in particular South Africa, where Air France has been present since 1953. It is also a sign of long-term commitment on the part of the Air France-KLM group in this part of the world and of its confidence in the development of exchange between Africa and Europe,” said Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of Air France-KLM.

The A380’s main deck represents the equivalent of a Boeing 777-200 and the upper deck represents that of an Airbus A340-300. Air France can therefore rationalize its frequencies on its most popular routes such as Paris-Johannesburg and replace two flights leaving within a short time of each other by just one flight, while at the same time offering the same number of seats with a 20% cost reduction.

Air France ordered twelve A380s, two of which have already been delivered. Following New York in November 2009 and Johannesburg in February 2010, Air France will also start operating the A380 to Tokyo in 2010.

Together, up to 28 March, Air France and KLM offer 24 weekly services between Paris, Amsterdam and South Africa, including 7 to Cape Town operated by KLM and 19 as from 28 March (1 daily Paris-Johannesburg flight, 1 daily Amsterdam-Johannesburg flight and 5 weekly Amsterdam-Cape Town services).

To meet demand during the 2010 Football World Cup, Air France will be operating 3 additional weekly frequencies by Boeing 777 in June and July.

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