MIAMI — New Caledonia’s flag carrier, Air Calin (SB), has become the world’s latest Airbus A330neo operator after taking delivery of its first A330-900 earlier today.

The aircraft, bearing the registration F-ONEO (MSN 1937), was handed over to the new Nouméa-based carrier at a delivery ceremony in Toulouse, France.

The Pacific airline placed a firm order for two Airbus A320neo and two A330-900s back in October 2017.

At the time, the carrier’s CEO, Didier Tappero, said that Air Calin needed to update its fleet to “reduce environmental impact” with a lower fuel burn and to “reduce operating costs.”

Today, the airline has one more A330-900 in its backlog. Once delivered in September, the carrier plans to replace the existing 16-year-old A330-200s with the brand-new equipment.

In addition to the widebodies, the airline’s 13-year-old A320s will also be replaced with the two incoming A320neos.

According to the carrier, the new A330-900s will feature 291 seats in a three-class configuration. Upfront, 26 seats will be available in Business Class, followed by 21 in Premium Economy and 244 in Economy.

Comparing apples to apples, the new A330-900 features 25 more seats over Air Calin’s current A330-200s. The new planes will also introduce the carrier’s all-new Premium Economy class.

The four brand-new planes will allow the airline to improve its economics on the 12 routes it serves across Asia-Pacific and Oceania.

Photo: Clément Alloing

Currently, the airline offers nonstop services to Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney in Oceania; Hangzhou, and Tianjin in China; Nadi in Fiji; Papeete in French Polynesia; Osaka and Tokyo in Japan; Auckland in New Zealand; Port Vila in Vanuatu; and Wallis.