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Air France begins A380 Flights between Paris and Tokyo

23 Comments

Air France has launched Airbus A380 flights between Paris and Narita. The aircraft, with registration number F-HPJD, is Air France's fourth A380, and departs Paris with flight number AF 276, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Air France will increase this frequency to daily from Oct 4. Flights depart Paris from terminal 2E at 13:30 to arrive in Tokyo at 08:10 the following day.

Return flights from Tokyo, AF 275, depart on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays 11:50 to arrive at Paris-Charles de Gaulle 2E at 17:15. The flights will become daily from Oct 5.

Paris-Tokyo is Air France’s 3rd route served by A380, following Paris-New York in 2009 and Paris-Johannesburg in February 2010.

Thanks to the size of the A380, Air France is rationalizing frequencies on these busy routes by combining two flights leaving at close departure times, while still offering the same number of seats and reducing costs by 20%. The A380’s main deck is the same size as a Boeing 777-200 and the upper deck is the same size as an Airbus A340-300.

Air France’s A380 is equipped with 538 seats in three cabin classes – La Première (First), with 9 seats on the main deck, Affaires (Business), with 80 seats on the upper deck, and Voyageur (Economy), with 449 seats divided between the two decks.

Air France has ordered 12 A380s, four of which have already been delivered.

© Japan Today

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23 Comments
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I would hate to arrive at Narita at the same time as this monster -- just getting through immigration would be a nightmare due to the mass volume of people. Has Narita expanded their immigration lines for this? Probably not.

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At 8:10 in the morning, it won't create a problem at Narita, there are not that many incoming fligths. If it was in the afternoon/early evening, yes I would agree with you that Narita may have problems coping. I have arrived on the A380 several times from Singapore in the morning and its not a big issue.

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"Just getting through immigration would be a nightmare due to the mass volume of people "

really?? never been delayed flying from Europe to Japan.. getting through Narita is a breeze compared to some European airports or American ones.

Narita always seems dead to me.. especially when compared to other top 10 busiest airports that handle a similar or less amount of traffic.

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Anyway Air France flight I find pretty good on board; good food, service, free champagne.

Its the ground experience that doesn't compare though. Also catching connecting flights from other busy airports in Europe to Paris CG is a night mare... just a one hour hop can take several hours and there are many stores of Air France having to put passengers up in Paris because of the poor connecting flights. Imagine that your 12 hour flight turning into 36 hour flight, just because of some pants connection, because Paris CG and other airports in Europe always run late, unlike Narita, which even though carrying more passengers does it on time...well Japan does have priority on being on time and customer service down to tee relatively.

If it was direct flight to Japan then airfrance would be one of my favourite European options to getting top Japan.

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Morning is not too bad for immigration. Try coming in at 1-2pm. Last time we did that, we spent about 1 1/2 hours in line. Some poor couple almost missed their connecting flight to Chitose. Thankfully my connection to Osaka Itami didn't leave until 4 hours later.

Anyway, that's a huge jet. 500 some people.

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I just hope and pray that sucker never goes down in an accident. Scary! It IS a very nice aircraft, however! Would love to fly on board ... even if just economy class!

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'The flights will become daily from Oct 5.' in the midst of the yearly striking season in France, I doubt it.

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Immigration in Paris and Spain is soooooooooooo boring -.-" Specialy for latin americans.... those guys are racists

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I haven't been to Narita in a while; have they remodeled the airport to accomodate the plane or are they resorting to the same method of meeting the plane with buses at the tarmac? I estimate it might take an additional couple of hours to clear immigration and customs before boarding bus limousines heading for Tokyo. Not easy to travel in Japan in spite of its efficient transportation system.

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The biggest rush is the afternoon and evening when Delta (formerly Northwest) has all it's arrivals and departures lined up. JAL and ANA do international from a different terminal and Delta is the only foreign airline with significant traffic. The A380 is nothing compared the line up of 747s and A330s Delta have going on.

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@kp123: Narita has several new gates with 3 airbridges to accomodate the the A380's that arrive at Narita. Unlike some oter airports they do ACTUALLY seem to use all 3. As I mentioned earlier, I have arrived in the morning on the SQ A380 and been clear of the airport in a timely manner, also as motytrah mentions above, the busiest time at this terminal is much later in the day with the Delta and UA arrivals. Fortunately most European flights arrive in the morning, (Lufthansa also flying the A380 here now, daily). Also, the American Airlines have no money so unlikely to see them flying A380's into Narita anytime soon!

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also @kp123: Your 'estimation' of an additional couple of hours to clear customs and immigration is nonsense, even if you were sitting right at the back of economy and last off the plane. It takes me longer to exit/enter Heathrow as a British passport holder than it ever takes to get through Narita.

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it is a great airplane and it has the quietest cabin in the sky.

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Rainman1 .... Thanks for the up date on Narita. Good to hear they remodeled. By the way, no American airline purchased A380 except FEDEX and UPS. All are opting for the Boeing 787 which is more practical for their U.S. domestic demand. Only 13 U.S. international airports are currently gearing up to handle it with one backing out (Hartfiedl, Atlanta). My town is also upgrading our airport for the A380 traffic from Europe by moving the airport 30 miles out, but it won't be ready until 2018, by then, I'll be dead and gone, pushing up daisies.

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ilkub76's comments are a tired old dust-off of the same rubbish that the Boeing flag-wavers were coming out with when the Singapore Airlines A380 service first started. Extra time at immigration has never been an issue - there's plenty at Narita, both leaving and arriving. The only thing that has slightly slowed things down is the photos and fingerprints and thanks to the extra re-entry permit holders' queue at Narita, that actually made things faster for resident gaijin.

Finally, count the seats - the total passenger capacity is probably only 20 - 25% more than a fully laden 747 on the same route. No big deal.

Boeing are very much on the back foot - everyone I've met who's flown on an A380 thinks it's a great plane. Even Americans !

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frontandcentre have to agree with you all Americans i know that flied on the plane loved it.Passenger reation is what will sell it down the line. how will air france a380 result in having a larger influx of passengers when it is replacing a b777-200 and a a330-2-- or a340-600 that landed around the same time .

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I was on Lufthansa's A380 recently. What a great plane that is! Sooo quiet! So relaxed! And, as frontandcentre said, great that Narita has extra lines for re-entry permit holders now. I passed immigration in 5 minutes. Coming from an A380!!

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"La Premiere ( First ) with 9 seats on the main deck"

Taking up the same space as 18 or more economy class seats no doubt.

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@Sarge: Looking at Seatguru..closer to 20 would be my guess. Still, its not as big (or as I suspect) as nearly as good as the Singapore Airline Suite. You sound like you have a problem with this!

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@rainman1: Sarge is only concerned about the ecology. The spaces these people take up force other people to take another flight. So, in the end there will be a need for more airplanes emitting more CO2.

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What if everyone decided they don't want to get squeezed into economy class and just waited until they had the money for, and a reservation for a First Class/Business Class seat? And all the economy class seats, which are good for kids under 10, but not too good for anyone else, went empty?

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@Foxie - Thank you, if that's the reason - respect. On a business note, most airlines only need to fill business class on a long haul flight for the trip to pay for itself. The rest is profit, hence fares in economy being effectively cheaper than twenty years ago. Unfortunately, seat pitch has shrunk by up to 4 inches in the same period.

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i dont see any problem in Narita, but in Paris. I try to avoid CDG by all means: or they are on strikes, or they will loose your luggage, or it will be something else what will go wrong))

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