The new long-haul, low-cost operation of Groupe Dubreuil, parent of leisure carrier Air Caraïbes, is to operate under the French Blue brand name, according to people close to the airline project. The start-up will take to the air this summer using a single Airbus A330-300 and it is already planning to grow its fleet in future years.
Initially developed under the working title ‘Sunline’, the long-haul operator is expected to be officially launched next month and is likely to serve a network on leisure markets from Paris Orly, including destinations in Canada, USA, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
It will take delivery of a factory new Higher Gross Weight (HGW) 242 tonne A330-300 in the second quarter of this year ahead of a likely June 2016 launch. The aircraft will be configured in a two-class arrangement offering seating for 380 passengers. This is expected to be a basic Economy arrangement of around 355 seats with a special 25 seat Economy Plus offering, although some suggest a Business Class cabin could also be incorporated.
The initial A330-300 will be joined by additional aircraft as Air Caraïbes begins to rollover its fleet from the A330 to the A350 over the remainder of the decade. The airline has seven A350XWBs on order including four -900s due from 2016 and three larger -1000s arriving from 2020.