Aircalin is looking at launching one-stop flights to Paris in 2026 with either Boeing 787s or Airbus A350s.
Aircalin has reiterated its intention to launch its own services to Paris from its Nouméa hub. Noumea is the capital of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory made up of several Islands in the South Pacific. It is approximately 20 hours from the French capital by plane, meaning the feasibility of such a route for a small airline is a big challenge.
Aircalin has grown in recent years, reintroducing important routes for New Caledonians and emerging from severe losses, with profits recorded in 2022 and further growth accomplished this year. Nevertheless, New Caledonia remains unconnected mainly from the French mainland, with only one-stop, indirect services available through connecting flights.
Chief Executive Officer Georges Selefen announced at the delivery event that the airline was planning to launch one-stop flights to Paris with a new aircraft – meaning the plan does not foresee Airbus A330neo operation. In an interview with Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes, Selefen said (translated from French): “We are certain that this route would bring a lot in terms of jobs. We are also convinced that we would need to adjust our fleet as with our current Airbus A330neo aircraft we cannot do it [Paris]. As a result, we would have to adjust our long haul fleet in order to get to Paris, and it is for this reason that we are currently working with Airbus and other manufacturers to propose offers that would allow us to do it.”
Selefen added that this announcement resulted from months of work, which concluded that the airline would need to expand its fleet with either the Boeing 787 or Airbus A350. The Airbus A330neo’s range is deemed insufficient to operate the service.
In addition, the two Airbus A330-900 aircraft that Aircalin operates are deployed on flights to Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, and Papeete. In other words, the airline lacks the capacity with its existing fleet to launch a lengthy service to Paris. Note that the flight time between Nouméa and Singapore, and Tokyo is roughly 8 hours one-way.
Written by: JT
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