AIRBUS is celebrating after the first order of its 850-seater superjumbo was announced.
Indian Ocean airline Air Austral ordered two all-economy versions of the giant A380 passenger plane at the Dubai Air Show.
Each plane will carry 840 passengers on flights from La Reunion to Paris.
John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, said 20 of the giant planes are currently in service with four airlines, but none of them carry as many as the Air Austral aircraft.
He said: “Air Austral opens a new chapter for A380 operations. It will operate the A380 with the lowest fuel cost and emissions per passenger of any aircraft available today.
“The in-service experience has shown just how efficient the A380 really is.”
Orders for the superjumbo stand at 202 from 17 customers.
Senegal Airlines, the new national carrier of the Republic of Senegal, signed a letter of intent to purchase four A320 family aircraft and two A330s. The airline will launch services in early 2010 from its hub in Dakar to destinations in Africa and Europe.
Airbus officials also announced an order for one A330-200 and one Airbus A320 from Nepal Airlines.
Airbus also revealed its sharklets, a new fuel-saving device on the wings of its best-selling A320 aircraft. Air New Zealand will start taking delivery of these aircraft in 2012.
An Airbus spokesman said the orders announced will help secure jobs at the Broughton plant, where wings for the superjumbo are made.