Réunion Island-based Air Austral has placed a firm order with Airbus for its newest member A220 aircraft, making it the first customer in the Indian Ocean area.

Benefitting from a 20% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, the A220s are designed to decrease costs, carbon emissions and noise footprint when operating on international routes in the region.

Air Austral chief executive officer Marie-Joseph Malé said: “Air Austral has chosen the A220-300 as part of the renewal of its medium-haul and short-haul fleet. These new-generation aircraft will join the airline from the end of 2020 with the aim of harmonising part of its fleet and strengthening its operations.

The economic and operational performance of the A220 opens new possibilities for the development of our regional network from our main base – Réunion Island – in an efficient and rational way.”

Being the only aircraft built to serve the 100-150 seat market, the A220 is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines.

The A220 also offers a 20% fuel consumption reduction per seat.

Airbus Commercial executive vice-president Christopher Buckley said: “With its unrivalled performance and operational flexibility, the A220 is the perfect aircraft for Air Austral to reinforce routes between Réunion Island and its neighbours in the Indian Ocean, as well as connecting the island further afield.

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“Airlines from all around the world are acknowledging the A220’s economics and it is a great honour that Air Austral will be the first A220 operator in the region.”