European leisure carrier XL Airways France has expanded its fleet following the acceptance of its first brand new Airbus A330-300 from the manufacturer’s headquarters in Toulouse, France. The aircraft, operated under a leasing agreement with GECAS, was delivered to the airline in late November and will join two A330-200s, one A320 and a couple of Boeing 737-800s already in service.
XL Airways plans to use the new aircraft on its routes to the French Caribbean and has configured the jet in a single-class layout with seating for up to 408 passengers. According to latest GDS information, the aircraft is expected to enter scheduled passenger service on December 8, 2012 initially twice weekly on the Paris CDG – Punta Cana route. The type is also expected to be used on flights from Paris CDG to Pointe-a-Pitre from December 15, 2012, Fort-de-France from December 17, 2012 and Puerto Plata from December 23, 2012.
“The entry into service of our first A330-300 is a great day for XL Airways France and our passengers. With this brand new aircraft, we will open additional routes as part of the expansion of our business in the French Caribbean,” said Laurent Magnin,” Chief Executive Officer, XL Airways France. “This new Airbus aircraft will support our continued growth thanks to its superior fuel efficiency, capacity and range benefitting both our charter and scheduled flight operations.”
XL Airways France was established in 1995 as Star Airlines before becoming part of the XL Leisure Group and changing to its current name in November 2006. When XL collapsed in September 2008 it was acauired by Straumur-Burdaras Investment Bank and in the last month was sold to X-Air Aviation, a subsidiary of Swiss-US investment group BeachSide Capital. Alongside its flights to the Caribbean the carrier offers charter and scheduled links to long-haul destinations in Africa and the Middle East as well as charter flights to medium-haul destinations in the Mediterranean.