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Join him on a true world record flight aboard
- the world’s first 2nd-life A380 in charter operation,
- the world’s longest A380 domestic flight to date,
- the first ever commercial A380 service to Réunion,
- the first ever A380 service of Air Austral, a company previously having ordered own A380 but changed plans later.
AirClips had the privilege to find someone (let's call him AirClipsTraveler) to witness and capture this unique flight in the A380 history for us, making himself the first ever Air Austral First Class Suite passenger. Air Austral wetleased this A380 as a replacement for a B787 under maintenance for a bit more than two weeks in late August/ early September 2018. Apart from two previous assignments of that A380 to adhoc charter flights for Thomas Cook Scandinavia and Norwegian this has been the world's first ever planned charter/ wet lease flight of an A380.
This single flagship of Hi Fly (Portugal) is registered under it's Hi Fly Malta AOC and operating for French Air Austral here for a very first time.
This is the first A380 aircraft operated second hand. You're expecting a warn-out cabin from it's previous owner Singapore Airlines? Forget it! Join the air clips traveler through a virtually new cabin in factory-new-like condition and enjoy a Hi Fly and Air Austral crew that meets the highest international standards. Lean back and enjoy!
Air Austral is a French airline with its headquarters at Roland Garros Airport in Sainte-Marie, Réunion, France. The airline's main base of flight operations is Roland Garros Airport. It operates scheduled services from Réunion to metropolitan France, South Africa, Thailand, India and a number of destinations in the Indian Ocean. The company has 900 employees. Air Austral was created in December 1974 by local businessman Gérard Ethève. It was Réunion's first commercial airline, known as Réunion Air Services (RAS). By August 1977 RAS had started regional services from Sainte-Marie to Mayotte with a 32-seat Hawker Siddeley HS 748 turboprop. RAS became Air Réunion in December, 1986.
In October 1990 Sematra, a company 46% owned by the local councils of Réunion with the remaining shares owned by banks and other private partners, purchased Air Réunion. A month later, Air Réunion became Air Austral. Two months later, Air Austral bought its first Boeing 737-500. Another 737-300 was acquired in 1994, and in 1997 the airline purchased a 737-300QC, which enabled both passenger and cargo only traffic.
In 2000 the airline took delivery of an ATR 72-500, a short-haul turboprop. By then, Air Austral operated from both Roland Garros Airport in Sainte-Marie and Pierrefonds Airport in Saint Pierre with scheduled services to Mayotte, Johannesburg, South Africa, Comoros, Mauritius, the Seychelles, and three destinations in Madagascar (Antananarivo, Tamatave, Nosy Be, Majunga). In 2003, Air Austral launched its first long-haul service between Réunion and Paris, with two Boeing 777-200ERs. The two Boeing 777s were joined by a third Boeing 777-200ER in 2005. A second long-haul route from Réunion to Marseille and Lyon was established.
In 2007, a third long-haul service to Toulouse via Marseille started. In 2008, the airline introduced new uniforms for staff and crew members, designed by Balenciaga. The second ATR 72-500 was added to the fleet, followed by a third a few months later. In April 2009, Air Austral started a new service to Sydney and New Caledonia, thus opening up a new route between Paris and Sydney via Réunion. The airline also acquired two Boeing 777-300ERs. In November, it placed a firm order for two all-economy class 840-seat Airbus A380s, for delivery in 2014. These are intended for Air Austral's Réunion-Paris flights. In June 2010, it was announced that Air Austral would start scheduled flights from Réunion to Bordeaux and Nantes from February 2011.
In August 2011, Air Austral received its first Boeing 777-200LR. In April 2012, founder and chief executive Gérard Ethève was replaced by Marie-Joseph Malé following financial difficulties caused by risky business decisions made worse by high fuel prices. Non-profitable lines to Nouméa, Sydney, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Toulouse and Lyon were closed. The company has since returned to profit. Also in April 2012, Air Austral was unable to pay for a new 777-200LR awaiting delivery. The company is looking to sell on the plane instead of taking delivery. Following this development, Air Austral announced in May 2012 that it would defer or cancel its order for 2 Airbus A380s, with a decision to be made by the end of June 2012.