New routes to China are a potential outcome from Noumea based Aircalin’s decision, announced today, to refleet its jet airliner operations with two widebody Airbus A330-900 NEOs and two single aisle A320 NEOs.
At a ceremony in Noumea Aircalin’s CEO Didier Tappero, said “As part of our plan to boost tourism to New Caledonia, Aircalin has made a strategic decision to renew its complete fleet with the A320neo and the A330neo to grow routes and connect New Caledonia to the region.”
The A330-900 NEOs, the first ordered in the South Pacific, will boost current services to Japan for onward connections and the possible opening of new routes such as to China while the A320 NEOs will operate single aisle services throughout the lightly flown South Pacific regional routes and to Australia and New Zealand.
They are expected to be introduced after 2018.
Airbus Executive Vice President, Europe Africa and Pacific, Christopher Buckley, said a part of the business modelling for the A330 NEO line was its capability as a higher capacity freight carrying jet, relevant to emerging fresh food markets in Asia, whether in conjunction with passenger carriage, or at times as a purely cargo aircraft leaving the cabin unoccupied.
“The A330 NEO gives Aircalin highly attractive upside potential for innovations in passenger and if required, freight export services, with all of the operational gains that come with new technology engines and a suite of airframe, cabin and maintenance enhancements.” Mr Buckley said.
Airbus is pitching the A330 NEOs as more efficient and comfortable jets than competing Boeing 787-8s to airlines that don’t require new jets the size of the Boeing 777 fleets that major Asian carriers including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Thai International are replacing with its all new A350 family of wide-body airliners.