French Caribbean carrier Air Caraïbes has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for three A350-1000 aircraft, and is with this purchase decision becoming the European launch customer for the largest version of the A350 XWB.
The aircraft will be operated on the airline's network from Paris to the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and soon to French Guyana. They will be configured in three classes with a total of 440 seats.
"The A350 XWB will continue the track record of spectacular efficiency and low operating costs we already experience with the A330", said Jean-Paul Dubreuil, President of Air Caraïbes. "Aircraft commonality, which is unique to Airbus aircraft, will allow our pilots to transition efficiently to the A350 XWB. Most importantly, this aircraft assures lowest fuel burn, which perfectly matches our growth strategy," he added.
Air Caraïbes already operates a young all Airbus long haul fleet of two A330-200s and one A330-300, with three more aircraft of the same type (A330-300) on order. As the airline continues to add capacity on their popular long haul routes, the A350-1000 will become the backbone of the fleet.
"The A350 XWB is not only the most efficient aircraft with lowest fuel consumption on the market today. It is also the aircraft which best meets airlines' needs in terms of range and capacity" said John Leahy, Airbus COO Customers. "Air Caraïbe's decision to acquire our long-haul star is yet another proof of the A350 XWB delivering exactly what the market needs."
Air Caraïbes operates approximately 20 flights per week out of the Paris hub, serving Guadeloupe and Martinique and from there an extensive inter-Caribbean islands route network including, Santa Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Bartholomew, the Dominican Republic, as well as routes to Costa Rica and Panama. The airline distinguishes itself by offering extra comfort with individual TV screens and on demand video systems in all classes.
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) Family is Airbus' response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8,300 nm / 15,400 km, it is available in three basic passenger versions: the A350-800, the A350-900 and the A350-1000.
The A350 XWB has the widest fuselage in its category, offering unprecedented levels of comfort, the lowest operating costs and lowest seat mile cost of any aircraft in this market segment. Powered by two new generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines delivering each up to 92,000 lbs of thrust, the A350 XWB Family is designed to confront the challenges of high fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental concerns.
Airbus is an EADS company.