According to this article on the BBC, word has come down that Air Austral has purchased not one, but two of the superjumbo Airbus A380 planes. While other airlines are outfitting them to carry more passengers in multiple classes, Austral is opting for the “budget” route and outfitting the planes to carry a whopping 840 passengers all at the economy level from their Paris-Saint-Denis route.
Given that there are only about 827,000 people in total living on the island of Réunion, it is obvious that they are planning to ply towards the holiday makers. Of course, at 11 hours in flight time and a cost of 800€ or so, it makes for a strange terminology to call this a “budget” flight as I’m much more used to seeing this applied to stag parties on Ryanair in Europe. Of course, they must obviously believe that there will be a good deal of profit in this or they would have paid the 1 billion (thousand million) USD for the two jets. And maybe there is something to be said for this approach. If it does indeed work, it might prove to be a decent model to drop the cost of flights to Africa and allow for an increase of connectedness which is most definitely needed.
A new approach to budget flights