Air Côte d’Ivoire Orders Airbus A330-900neo (With First Class!)

Air Côte d’Ivoire Orders Airbus A330-900neo (With First Class!)

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Last week, Airbus’ newest wide body customer was announced, and it’s a fun one. There’s a further update — the airline plans to introduce a first class product! Let’s go over everything we know about this order.

Air Côte d’Ivoire adding Airbus A330-900neo to fleet

Air Côte d’Ivoire, the national airline of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, has placed a firm order for two Airbus A330-900neo aircraft. The airline currently has a fleet consisting of 10 planes, including six Airbus A320-family aircraft, plus four De Havilland Dash 8 aircraft.

The airline plans to use the A330neo to launch long haul flights. The two planes are expected to be delivered in 2024, and the order is directly with Airbus, rather than through a third party leasing company.

Air Côte d’Ivoire has ordered two A330-900neos

For those not familiar, the A330neo is the updated version of the A330, featuring improved range and fuel efficiency. The A330-900neo is the larger of the two new variants (with the other being the A330-800neo). The plane has a range of 7,200 nautical miles, plus a capacity for 287 passengers in a standard three cabin configuration.

Air Côte d’Ivoire had previously ordered two Airbus A319neos, but that order has since been canceled. This new A330-900neo order seems to be part of a swap. The airline will be the third A330neo operator in Africa, after Air Senegal and Uganda Airlines.

Air Senegal also flies the Airbus A330-900neo

Air Côte d’Ivoire will introduce first class

Air Côte d’Ivoire executives have revealed that the A330-900neo is expected to feature just 240 seats in a four class configuration, meaning the plane will have first class, business class, premium economy, and economy. While the exact seat count for each cabin isn’t yet known, it’s pretty noteworthy that Air Côte d’Ivoire plans to introduce first class.

Air Côte d’Ivoire will be the first airline to install first class on the Airbus A330neo, and will only be the second airline in Africa to offer first class, after TAAG Angola (which I’ve flown, and it was… not great).

While the decision to include first class may make some wonder whether the airline is profit or prestige driven, in fairness, Abidjan has quite a bit of premium demand. For example, it’s one of the only destinations in Africa to which Air France flies a Boeing 777 with a first class cabin.

TAAG Angola first class Boeing 777-300ER

Air Côte d’Ivoire plans to fly from Abidjan to USA

As it stands, currently Air Côte d’Ivoire exclusively operates flights within Africa from its hub, Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport in Abidjan (ABJ). So, what’s the airline planning to do with its Airbus A330-900neos?

Executives claim the airline plans to launch flights to the United States with these planes in late 2024 or early 2025. It remains to be seen which route the airline would operate. I would guess that Abidjan to New York or Washington are most likely — the former partly for prestige, and the latter partly for political reasons.

I have a hard time imagining these flights will be particularly profitable, given the struggles of other African airlines with making money on service to the United States.

I suspect that Paris would be the other logical destination for the airline, though the Paris to Abidjan route is also operated by Air France and Corsair. At one point Air France even operated an Airbus A380 on this route, to give you a sense of the amount of traffic.

Without any partnerships, Air Côte d’Ivoire would be focused primarily on point-to-point traffic. The airline does have a decent network in Africa, so at least the airline would have some connecting traffic from within Africa for its services to Europe and the United States. Still, the economics will be tough.

Possible Air Côte d’Ivoire Airbus A330 routes

Bottom line

Government-owned Air Côte d’Ivoire has placed an order for two Airbus A330-900neos. These are expected to join the carrier’s fleet in 2024, and will be used for long haul expansion, including to the United States and France.

The A330-900neos are expected to feature just 240 seats in a four class layout, meaning the airline will have first class, business class, premium economy, and economy.

I’m always excited about a new airline getting wide body jets, though it remains to be how successful the company will be with this major expansion.

What do you make of the Air Côte d’Ivoire Airbus A330-900neo order?

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  1. Ric Fermi Guest

    Well, I'm afraid Air Côte d'Ivoire is not very friendly or professional, they never returned any e-mail.

  2. iamhere Guest

    You mentioned the two big issues. One is the airline does not have a network around Africa. Two is they do not have any partnerships. Then comes the pricing which for such airlines in this type of situation is usually overly expensive. That is partly why they have trouble making profits on various routes.

  3. John T Guest

    Why is there premium demand? Do they have oil or something?

  4. Mick Guest

    Awesome article. Added bonus to the taag reviews which I must have read 10x lolllll. Love them

  5. Dennis Guest

    You have not done your research at all on Air Cote D'Ivorie and the potential it can offer. Firstly, kindly note that HF has built a very strong hub and spoke business model at its primary hub i.e. Abidjan airport which currently permits convenient two way connections from DSS BKO CKY OUA ACC LOS ABV NIM via ABJ to its entire network.

    When it launches Paris and New York flights in 2024-25, it will be...

    You have not done your research at all on Air Cote D'Ivorie and the potential it can offer. Firstly, kindly note that HF has built a very strong hub and spoke business model at its primary hub i.e. Abidjan airport which currently permits convenient two way connections from DSS BKO CKY OUA ACC LOS ABV NIM via ABJ to its entire network.

    When it launches Paris and New York flights in 2024-25, it will be scheduled in a way to permit two way connections to these neighboring cities especially the planned ABJ-JFK nonstop service. Here it will rely a lot on volumetric traffic flows from Nigeria and Ghana in particular as the point to point demand on ABJ-NYC-ABJ is only 28,000 passengers round trip annually.

    As far as Paris is concerned, yes a majority of the traffic will be p2p but they will get a fair share of the connecting traffic to BKO ACC LOS and Central Africa. HF's A339s will have a four class cabin with first class seats installed and the total capacity shall be 240 seats.

  6. Tami102 Guest

    I wouldn't rule out China ( Beijing, Guangzhou or maybe Hong Kong)

  7. Abidjan Guest

    Good news. I do miss the days of Air Afrique.

  8. Jim Guest

    HF (there's a code you don't see every day!) has a very strong network in West Africa, with 'banks' for streamlined connections. If they can get enough O/D demand at NY, they can do quite well. Much like ET/KP in Lome (from EWR/IAD).

  9. Sc Guest

    NY actually has a decent population from Ivory Coast including in uptown as well as in the Bronx.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Their preferred pronoun is "Côte d’Ivoire".

    2. The nice Paul Guest

      It’s an interesting question.

      Should English speakers be forced to stop saying “Florence” and instead be made to say “Firenze”? In Italia, of course, not Italy. Should we insist that “Paris” is pronounced “Paree”?

      What about French speakers: must they stop with the “Londres” and say “London” like native speakers? Is “Royaume-Uni” offensive to the British?

      But where should it end? Should natives of SW Scotland be made to say “Glasgow”, or must the rest...

      It’s an interesting question.

      Should English speakers be forced to stop saying “Florence” and instead be made to say “Firenze”? In Italia, of course, not Italy. Should we insist that “Paris” is pronounced “Paree”?

      What about French speakers: must they stop with the “Londres” and say “London” like native speakers? Is “Royaume-Uni” offensive to the British?

      But where should it end? Should natives of SW Scotland be made to say “Glasgow”, or must the rest of us start using the pronunciation “Glas-gie”?

      My local city is Norwich but we locals pronounce it “Norridge” (rhymes with porridge). Should KLM pilots be fined every time they announce they’ve started their descent into Nor-which?

      Anglicisation of overseas placenames is a tradition going back centuries. And one I think most English speakers happily accept when it’s applied the other way round.

    3. Mick Guest

      It’s beautiful when Spanish people say Londres but horrible when English people say Naples lollll

    4. Kiwi Guest

      The difference is Côte d’Ivoire changed the country’s name officially 20+ years ago or so. It will be interesting to see how fast Turkia is adopted since the name change this year

    5. TravelinWilly Diamond

      “Côte d’Ivoire” is a pronoun?

      LOL!

      Thanks for the chuckle.

    6. Eskimo Guest

      @TravelinWilly

      Try not to chuckle too much.
      I would imagine anything could be a preferred pronoun in 2022, disrespecting it could lead you to get cancelled.

      @The nice Paul

      It's not a question. But I'm glad it got you thinking. Now let's take the next step in the context of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
      With that context, Should we still insist that “Paris” is pronounced “Paree”?

    7. John Guest

      Nom: Eskimo
      Pronoms: Dumb/Dumber

      Happy now, my faux francophile?

    8. Ralph4878 Guest

      Now @John, let's not take away Eskimo's "Freedom to Insult the Humanity of Others Who Aren't Like Me," oops, I mean "Freedom of Speech."

  10. Frog Guest

    I've flown on the AF A380 from Paris to Abidjan a few times (pre-Covid) and it was always pretty full. The flight even had a First class cabin, though I cant speak to how full that was since I was always in business class. I would assume this route is on the cards for the new aircraft.

    1. Ben Holz Guest

      Do you know if on the A380 days CDG-ABJ was operated once daily or if there. was a supplementary B777/A330?

    2. AnishReddi Member

      It was 3 weekly A380 and 4 weekly 777, now it's double daily 777.

  11. TravelinWilly Diamond

    Strange timing, just last night I was looking at Air Côte d’Ivoire as an option for a ABJ-JNB trip, and today here’s this piece. Great minds or something.

    Their website needs some help btw.

  12. Ben Holz Guest

    Can't help but feel confused. They traded 2x A319neo for 1x a330-900neo? Surely the former would've been able to give them much more flexibility. The A319neo could've flown to CDG/ORY, to almost any other European destination, within Africa and depending on the configuration maybe even as far as DXB. Or any permutation of those.

    They got an A330 for a route that will most likely be cancelled within a year of launching (if it...

    Can't help but feel confused. They traded 2x A319neo for 1x a330-900neo? Surely the former would've been able to give them much more flexibility. The A319neo could've flown to CDG/ORY, to almost any other European destination, within Africa and depending on the configuration maybe even as far as DXB. Or any permutation of those.

    They got an A330 for a route that will most likely be cancelled within a year of launching (if it launches at all) and they'll end up flying it up to Paris (market which in itself is already serviced 2-3x daily) and where they'll be offering a single frequency.

    I get that having flights to the US can have ulterior motives, but it's simply an unprofitable money. O/D travel isn't enough to sustain any regular transatlantic route from ABJ and the only sub-Saharan country with a network strong enough to make flights across the pond profitable is ET.

  13. MildMidwesterner Gold

    If we're playing the speculation game, I wouldn't count out Houston. The petroleum trade in Africa could provide some strong business demand.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Not as much as it once did, especially with the top corps now having private aircraft that can get them there.

      UA has long since pulled its nonstops from Houston to Africa, and IINM, even the SonAir shuttles don't run anymore.

      What traffic remains is more than happy to use the likes of KL/AF/BA (as they also service the Euro HQs of many energy companies) or to a lesser extent TK/EK/QR and even DL via their hubs' African service.

  14. tom Guest

    Looks like biz class is the TK 77w seat.

    Long term probably they make these high density Y with a small J cabin, and fly up and down to Paris

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

The nice Paul Guest

It’s an interesting question. Should English speakers be forced to stop saying “Florence” and instead be made to say “Firenze”? In Italia, of course, not Italy. Should we insist that “Paris” is pronounced “Paree”? What about French speakers: must they stop with the “Londres” and say “London” like native speakers? Is “Royaume-Uni” offensive to the British? But where should it end? Should natives of SW Scotland be made to say “Glasgow”, or must the rest of us start using the pronunciation “Glas-gie”? My local city is Norwich but we locals pronounce it “Norridge” (rhymes with porridge). Should KLM pilots be fined every time they announce they’ve started their descent into Nor-which? Anglicisation of overseas placenames is a tradition going back centuries. And one I think most English speakers happily accept when it’s applied the other way round.

3
MildMidwesterner Gold

If we're playing the speculation game, I wouldn't count out Houston. The petroleum trade in Africa could provide some strong business demand.

2
Abidjan Guest

Good news. I do miss the days of Air Afrique.

1
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