Air Austral Boeing 787-8 (34510/22) F-OLRC rolls for takeoff from Boeing-Paine Field (PAE/KPAE) on May 23, 2016 on it delivery flight to the carriers home on Reunion Island.
(Photo - Boeing)
Air Austral is the latest carrier to join the Dreamliner club.
The airline, based in the French Indian Ocean island territory of Réunion, took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Tuesday at the jet-maker's delivery center in Everett, Wash. The aircraft was scheduled at land at the Roland Garros Airport in Saint-Marie, Reunion Island, on Wednesday after the 10,500-mile delivery flight from Everett.
Air Austral’s Dreamliner order is a small one. Tuesday's delivery marked the first of two scheduled to go to the carrier as part of a 2015 order. Air Austral CEO Marie-Joseph Male says the airline will use its Dreamliners for nonstop service to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport from Mayotte, another of France’s island territories in the Indian Ocean.
"It is an honor to deliver the first 787 Dreamliner to Air Austral, a first for a French operator," Van Rex Gallard, Boeing’s VP for commercial sales Latin America, Caribbean and Africa, says in a statement. "The Dreamliner will complement Air Austral's growing long-haul fleet, made up of 777s and now a 787, as well as its trans-continental network to Europe and Asia."
Industry followers may recall Air Austral was the carrier that made headlines in 2009 when it said it would buy two Airbus A380 superjumbos and configure the double-decker jet in an 840-seat all-coach configuration.
Air Austral, which would have been the first to outfit the A380 with such a layout, has since abandoned the idea. Its orders were officially canceled earlier this year.
Air Austral was founded in 1975 and currently operates a fleet of nine aircraft to over 10 destinations worldwide.
(Ben Mutzabaugh - Today In The Sky / USA Today)