Air Austral has signed up to receive three Airbus A220-300 aircraft. These mark an addition to its short-haul fleet and the first Airbus aircraft to enter the fleet. The first of three A220s are expected to be delivered at the end of 2020.
Air Austral signs for A220s
FlightGlobal reports that the carrier signed on for three Airbus A220-300s. Air Austral announced the order at an event on Reunion. The first A220-300 in Air Austral livery is due for arrival at the end of 2020 and will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engines.
The A220-300 is the larger A220 variant that was originally developed as part of the Bombardier CSeries program before Airbus took over. This larger variant, according to Airbus, can seat between 120-150 in a typical two-class configuration with a maximum of 160 passengers. Given Air Austral’s other aircraft, it is likely their A220s will be on the higher end in terms of seat count.
Where could Air Austral fly the A220?
With a range of over 6,000km, the A220 can fly a number of routes out of Reunion. This could lead to Air Austral’s expansion across Africa, the Middle East, or even India.
Who is Air Austral?
Air Austral is based in Reunion. This is a French overseas territory located in the Indian Ocean. As an island territory, there is plenty of tourist interest in the island. And, Air Austral has capitalized on that. With a fleet comprising of an ATR72-500, Boeing 737s, 777s, and 787s, the airline serves key destinations including Paris and Johannesburg.
Air Austral offers “Club Austral” business class with lie-flat seats on the 777 according to its website. However, its 777-300ER is outfitted with 442 seats in a dense configuration. Air Austral has three of these aircraft in its fleet. In addition to Club Austral, there are 40 premium economy seats and 384 economy seats.
Meanwhile, the airline also flies two Boeing 787s with 18 business class seats with 244 economy seats.
For its short-haul fleet, Air Austral has two Boeing 737-800s. The 737-800s have 162 seats across two cabin classes. In the premium economy cabin, there are 18 seats. Meanwhile, the economy cabin has 144 seats. In addition, the Reunion-based carrier also has one ATR 72-500 with 64 economy class seats.
The Airbus A220 will complement these aircraft on Air Austral’s shorter routes. Although, it is unclear where the A220 will fly, in terms of capacity, the A220 will likely be close to that of the 737-800. Air Austral has not indicated if these aircraft will phase out the 737s or if they will operate side-by-side to Boeing’s iconic narrowbody.
Will you fly on an Air Austral Airbus A220-300? Let us know in the comments!