Air France confirmed (29-Apr-2013) that it will deploy A380 equipment on Paris CDG-Shanghai Pudong service with three times weekly frequency from 02-Sep-2013, becoming the first European airline to serve Shanghai with A380 aircraft. Air France configured its A380 aircraft in a four-class configuration. Air France chairman and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: "Serving Shanghai by Airbus A380 is a perfect example of our aim to expand on growth markets. On board, we aim to provide all our customers with the levels of comfort, serenity and French-style service excellence that distinguishes Air France worldwide. This new route by A380 demonstrates the excellent cooperation between the French and Chinese aviation authorities, which have made this agreement possible". Air France has created a range of services specifically tailored to accommodate its Chinese passengers including announcements in Mandarin (to Chinese destinations) and Cantonese (to Hong Kong), Chinese interpreters in-flight and multilingual agents at Paris CDG. The carrier will also amend its in-flight menu to include Chinese dishes, and its IFE system to include Chinese movies and subtitles. Air France configures its A380 aircraft with 516 seats across four cabins: nine in first, 80 in business, 38 in premium economy and 398 in economy. [more - original PR]
Air France to deploy A380 aircraft to Shanghai
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Where the A380 flies: Japan and intra-Asia routes decline while Australia & Middle East grow
The A380 is once again under media scrutiny, despite there being no major movement on the type. Comments from Air France and Qantas about not taking further A380s have long been assumed, and it has been apparent that Malaysia Airlines does not even have the need for its A380s. Singapore Airlines not renewing the lease on its first A380 is hardly surprising, and offers no definitive conclusion about the A380 or second-hand market; early A380s had different production and are not as efficient as later models. The lack of movement on the A380neo continues to irk the model's largest customer by far, Emirates, and may not make for a productive relationship as Emirates weighs an A350 or 787 order.
For most, the A380 continues to fly. How and where it flies is changing. Flights to and from the Middle East are becoming more common as Gulf airlines, and mostly Emirates, take delivery of A380s. A further shift to the Middle East is inevitable. In Japan there has been a near exodus of A380s; airlines dropping the type as they moved from Narita to Haneda, which cannot accommodate the A380 during the day, and Singapore Airlines down-gauging. Intra-Asia flying is decreasing – notable given the growth of A380s based in the region. Services by the A380 to Australia are growing, perhaps as it becomes an easy market for airlines to redeploy capacity amid European security concerns and trans-Pacific overcapacity.