Air France Confirms Abidjan A380 Schedule Debut

Air France has confirmed that Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire, will be the second destination in Africa to be served by its Airbus A380 fleet after successfully operating a one-time service to the city’s Félix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport in January 2014 to mark the hosting of the International Forum for Investments in the city. The European flag carrier already uses the Super Jumbo on its Paris – Johannesburg route.

During the 2014/2015 winter schedule from October 26, 2014 until March 28, 2015, Air France will deploy the A380 on three weekly rotations between its Paris hub and Abdijan. The route will be flown on a daily basis and the remaining four flights will be operated, as present, by a Boeing 777-300. The flight operates during daylight hours to Africa and returns to Europe overnight.

The use of 516-seat (9 seats in La Première, 80 seats in Business, 38 seats in Premium Economy and 389 seats in Economy) A380 into the country will boost seat capacity in an important market for Air France. With a strong level of growth, the Côte d’Ivoire aims to become the main hub and gateway to West Africa, a market representing over 300 million inhabitants.

The news is no real surprise as when Air France announced its one-time A380 charter to Abidjan it revealed its intention to serve the African destination with the type on a scheduled basis. As our analysis below highlights, bi-directional O&D demand between Paris and Abidjan increased by almost a quarter in 2013 (up 23.5 per cent versus 2012) but traffic levels are still down on the peak years between 2006 and 2009 when traffic exceeded 200,000 bi-directional O&D passengers.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…