Air France to receive it’s first Airbus A380 superjumbo today

In what is sure to be a lavish ceremony Toulouse, France head-quartered Airbus S.A.S. will deliver to French national airline Air France the carrier’s first A380 superjumbo registration F-HPJA MSN033 at Hamburg, Germany.

The A380 features the new livery of Air France which was unveiled earlier this year, but F-HPJA will not be the first aircraft to wear the new livery. It was on Good Friday April 10th earlier this year that Air France took delivery of the 777th Boeing 777, in this case 300ER registration F-GZND, and the first aircraft to wear the new Air France livery. See the video here.

Air France A380 F-HPJA MSN033
Both Airbus and Air France have set up special websites where you can watch the delivery ceremony live starting at 10:00GMT (15:30 IST). Airbus website. Air France website. Air France also has a video showing how it has prepared for the arrival of the 560 ton behemoth.

Air France will be the first European airline to take delivery of the A380 and will join three other carriers already operating the superjumbo — Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas.

  • Singapore Airlines took delivery of the first production A380 on 15th October 2007 and now has ten aircraft in operation on routes from Singapore to Hong Kong, London, Sydney, Melbourne and Tokyo.
  • Emirates took delivery of its first A380 on 28th July 2008 and now has five aircraft in service on routes from Dubai to Toronto, Bangkok, London, Sydney and Auckland.
  • Qantas received its first A380 on 19th September 2008 and now has four aircraft in operation on routes from Sydney to Singapore, London and Los Angeles, and from Melbourne to Los Angeles.

Air France will deploy its new A380 on the Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG) to New York John F Kennedy (JFK) route.

The Air France A380 will have seating capacity for 538 passengers. 9 in La Première (First) on the upper deck, 80 in the Affaires-Business cabin on the upper deck and 449 seats in the Voyageur-Economy cabin, located on both decks (343 in the main deck and 106 on the upper deck).

The aircraft features “mood lighting”. The lighting is not only a key element in the feeling of comfort for passengers, but also plays a role in synchronizing the body clock. On board the Air France A380, different lighting environments exist depending on what passengers are doing on board.

Air France has come up with several different lighting ambiances, depending on the cabin and the various flight phases.

The lighting in the La Première cabin is mostly red and orange, which blends in well with the beige and red colour scheme in this cabin. Light-blue lighting predominates in the Affaires cabin, giving it an elegant and modern feel. In the Voyageur cabin, light colours give passengers a feeling of comfort and serenity.

Lighting is at its most intense during boarding and disembarkation. While the aircraft is taxiing, the lighting is dimmed to adapt to the take-off and landing phases. At meal times, the lighting is similar to that of a restaurant in all three cabins. The lighting is gradually increased as passengers are waking up instead of the sudden harsh light in many of commercial airliners of today.

There are six bars on board. One exclusively reserved for La Première customers, two in the Affaires cabin and three in the Voyageur cabin. Throughout the flight, these bars offer passengers a drink and a snack, which are available depending on the flight time.

The in-flight entertainment system is completely new, with wider screens and easier navigation. In addition to video on demand (VOD) entertainment system, passengers can also see live images throughout the flight taken from an external mini-camera located on the tail fin.

Air France is the first airline in the world to equip each seat in the Affaires and Voyageur cabins with a USB socket, enabling passengers to download contents such as flight schedules, information on Air France, destination guides, games for children, relaxation videos and podcasts. However no information is available if passengers can plug in their iPods or iPhones like on the Singapore Airline’s Airbus A330 cabin.

Visit here for more details on the cabin. For the Air France A380 overview (in pdf format) click here.

Bienvenue F-HPJA.

Images courtesy Air France

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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