Aircalin Takes Delivery Of First A330-900neo

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Aircalin is the airline of New Caledonia. While they have a fairy small fleet consisting of just about half a dozen planes, they operate a pretty cool route network, with flights to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and some other nearby islands.

Earlier this year I wrote about how Aircalin is taking delivery of two A330-900neos this year. This is exciting for a few reasons:

  • They are introducing a new business class seat on their A330-900neos, which is fully flat and has direct aisle access
  • They are introducing premium economy on this plane for the first time
  • In general the A330-900neo is a more comfortable, quieter, and fuel efficient aircraft

Aircalin’s new A330-900neo business class

Well, today Aircalin has taken delivery of their very first A330-900neo, with the second A330-900neo expected to be delivered in September (it’s already being assembled). The plan is for these planes to replace their two A330-200s.

Then the airline will be taking delivery of two A320neos next year, which will replace their two A320s.

Aircalin’s new A330-900neo features a total of 291 seats, including 26 business class seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 244 economy seats. This is 25 more seats than on their A330-200s, and it will also lead to reduced fuel burn of roughly 25% per seat, compared to previous generation competitors.

It looks like the airline is scheduling the A330-900neo on their Noumea to Tokyo Narita as of August 10, 2019. That flight operates with the following schedule:

SB800 Noumea to Narita departing 12:50AM arriving 7:50AM
SB801 Narita to Noumea departing 12:15PM arriving 10:50PM

As you can see, they can use one plane for that rotation (though two hours in Noumea doesn’t leave much room for delays).

Then it looks to me like the 2x weekly flight to Osaka will get the A330-900neo as of September 23, 2019. That flight operates with the following schedule:

SB880 Noumea to Osaka departing 12:10AM arriving 7:00AM
SB881 Osaka to Noumea departing 11:30AM arriving 10:15PM

Bottom line

New Caledonia is high on my list of places to visit, and Aircalin’s new A330-900neo is all the more reason to go there. Congrats to Aircalin on this new plane, and it’s pretty awesome that over the course of a couple of months their fleet of long haul aircraft will go from having angled seats in business class to having fully flat seats. I can’t wait to check it out.

For what it’s worth, Aircalin is a Flying Blue partner, so they’re a great option for redeeming miles.

Comments
  1. Sorry – not related but wanted an update on your dad’s southwest flight. A very lighthearted post and funny.

  2. Air Calin’s crews are great and their service is nice even in economy. On the current planes the seats are a little hard, and remind me of Air Tahiti Nui’s seats. I went to New Caledonia this year and absolutely loved it.

  3. Why an airline would choose this piece of crap over the A380 baffles me. But it probably is that they don’t have money.

  4. Sounds like an awesome little airline with a great product! But I feel they have their times the wrong way around (i.e. they should leave Japan in the evening and arrive in New Caledonia in the morning). Presumably they are attracting a good amount of leisure traffic from Japan. At the very least, they should leave around 1.5hrs earlier from Japan to arrive earlier in the evening and also mitigate any potential delays.

  5. Actually the vast majority of pax on these routes are connecting on AF to CDG hence the times

  6. Aircalin is taking the feed from Air France and KLM in both Narita and Osaka. Took the flight two years ago when they had a promotion between Narita and Noumea for $500ish, and over half of the passengers were connecting passengers from Europe.

  7. New Caledonia is definitely worth a visit. We went there for the first time last year. We travelled with my husband’s mother – well that’s another story, given she had no valid passport. Air Cailin is good, although we actually travelled on an Air Caribes plane.

    We were there for a flop-and-drop and had a magic time at Le Meridien. Next time we go, I want to travel to Ile des Pins, and to more remote parts of the long thin island. We were there a couple of weeks before they were having one of several referenda about separating from France. The island is this little bit of European infrastructure in the middle of the Pacific. France pours a lot of money into it. The only down note is that the society appears very stratified, French in positions of power, and Kanaks not.

  8. Those are fairy nice looking aircraft. Oops, I meant fairly. 🙂 I’m a proofreading nerd.

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