Sunday, April 28, 2013

► COTE D'IVOIRE: Air France to deploy A380 on Abidjan flights from late 2014?

Air France logoAir France (AF) is considering deploying its Airbus A380-800 onto its Paris CDG - Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire route from September 2014 onwards, press reports out of the Ivorian capital claim. Should the move come into being, it would be Air France's second A380 destination in Africa after Johannesburg, South Africa.

Rendering for new Passenger Terminal at Abidjan Airport
Rendering for the new Passenger
Terminal at Abidjan (unknown)
In an interview with JeuneAfrique, Air France's regional manager for West Africa, Francis Richard, said that on the back of strong growth in the Ivory Coast market where the French carrier transported a record 186'000 passengers in 2012, Air France was considering deploying the A380 in late 2014 as a means of providing adequate seating to cope with demand as well as consolidating its market position, where competition recently arrived in the form of Corsair International (SS).

Thus far, no official press release from Paris has been received regarding the proposed service.

Some concerns remain, however, as to how prepared Abidjan's Félix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport is to handle the A380, given the current lack of facilities. A planned passenger terminal upgrade, valued at USD20million (XOF10billion) is planned, albeit only for 2015, with upgraded air side infrastructure to include new aerobridges, an extension of the international terminal from 11'000sqm to 26'000sqm, the refurbishment of the apron, renovation of access roads and the construction of a new parking lot.