New A380 operator Air France has inaugurated the first commercial flights between Europe and the United States with Airbus' 21st century flagship jetliner, flying the prestigious Paris-New York route.
The transatlantic service, which was inaugurated this week, links the global carrier's Charles de Gaulle hub facility with John F. Kennedy International Airport. In the three-class cabin arrangement selected by Air France, the A380 accommodates 538 passengers.
Air France is the first European airline to receive Airbus' next-generation double-deck jetliner, taking delivery of its no.1 A380 on 30 October. The carrier has ordered 12 A380s - including three that will be received by the spring of 2010 - and it plans to mark another milestone with the aircraft by introducing service to the African continent in February on the Paris-Johannesburg route.
The aircraft's size and performance are particularly well-suited to Air France's network, and will allow savings of 15 million euros annually per aircraft, according to the company's calculations.
Other carriers flying A380s are Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas. To date, the A380s in their service have carried some three million passengers, performed more than 8,600 revenue flights and accumulated over 82,000 revenue flight hours.