MIAMI — Miami International Airport (MIA) welcomed the first Air France flight operated with an Airbus A380 “Superjumbo” from Paris-Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) on December 1. Airport and airline officials, as well as representatives from the French Consulate in Miami, were present for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the return flight to Paris. The A380 replaces a Boeing 777-300ER and will operate the Miami-Paris route for the remainder of the winter schedule through March 28, 2015.
The first Air France flight operated by an A380 arrived to a water canon salute at MIA, as various media members, airport staff and airline employees watched at the ramp. The giant, but quiet aircraft pulled into gate J17 around 6:00 p.m. local time. Currently, this gate is the only one at MIA capable of handling the A380, which means Air France shares it with Lufthansa, the only other A380 operator at MIA. The Lufthansa flight departs one hour before the Air France arrival.
After the passengers deboarded, MIA Air France KLM station manager Jose Lannefranque gave us a quick tour of the cabin. This gave us an opportunity to get pictures of the cockpit and the four classes — f first, business, premium economy and economy. We only had five minutes, since TSA needed to perform a security inspection, but it was still enough time to get a few good shots.
The first class seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration on the main deck; business has a 2-2-2 arrangement on the upper deck; premium economy is also on the upper deck and has a 2-3-2 arrangement; and economy consists of a 3-4-3 arrangement in the main deck and 2-4-2 on the upper deck.
Air France configured its A380s with nine first class, 80 business, 38 premium economy, and 389 economy seats, for a maximum of 516 passengers. This is a 133-seat increase from the 383-passenger Boeing 777-300ER (42 business, 24 premium economy, and 317 economy) that operated the Paris-Miami route.
We then proceeded to the gate area for a ribbon- and cake-cutting ceremony prior to boarding passengers for the return flight to Paris. Ken Pyatt, deputy director of the Miami-Dade Country Aviation Department, delivered the opening remarks to commemorate the occasion. France’s Deputy Consul General in Miami, Karine Aumont, touted the improved passenger experience offered by the A380, including a more spacious and quieter cabin, ambient mood lighting, and the luxurious La Première first class cabin. Finally, the invited guests participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and were offered the commemorative cake.
From December 1 to March 28, Air France will operate up to seven weekly A380 flights between Miami and Paris. Between January 5, 2015, and February 1, 2015, and from March 9, 2015, to March 28, 2015, the flight will operate six days a week.
The A380 Paris-Miami service consists of these daily frequencies:
AF090: leaves CDG at 13:50, arrives at MIA at 18:05
AF099: leaves MIA at 20:55, arrives at CDG at 11:20 the next day
Air France is the second airline to introduce A380 service to MIA after Lufthansa, which introduced it on June 10, 2011.