Aircalin took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo aircraft. The French company based in New Caledonia has a firm order for two aircraft of the type as well as two Airbus A330neos which were delivered in 2019.
This first A320neo, registered as F-OTIB and named Tibarama, left Toulouse on December 24, 2020. After three stopovers in Dubai, Bangkok, and Darwin, it eventually reached its base in Nouméa-La Tontouta Airport (NOU) in New Caledonia on December 27, 2020.
The delivery is part of a wider fleet modernization plan announced in 2017. “I have no estimate [for traffic recovery], but at that time, we will have a high-performance aircraft in an environment, which will be very competitive on the regional services,” said Didier Tappero, Acting CEO of Aircalin upon reception of the aircraft.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, the single-aisle is configured to accommodate 168 passengers divided in two classes. It will operate routes from New Caledonia to Wallis and Futuna.
The second aircraft, which should fly between Nouméa and Port Vila configured in full Economy, was scheduled to be delivered in 2021. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed to September 2023.