French leisure carrier Corsair, based in Paris Orly has just received the very first of 5 new A330neo aircraft which will modernise its fleet. Last year saw the retirement of its 747s which have now been replaced by an all Airbus A330 fleet. The airline has streamlined its network offering which once spanned the US and Thailand, now focussing on core leisure Caribbean and Indian Ocean destinations.
This perfect leisure-targeted network means the carrier can afford to build a passenger product that reflects the needs of this passenger base. This is something that the likes of Condor –for example – couldn’t mirror historically due to its hybrid network of business and leisure markets. But what does this key network and new fleet mean for Corsair’s passengers?
Revealed through their social channels and website, we’ve been greeted with images of a completely reimagined cabin aesthetic. More matured, sophisticated and seemingly beautifully executed. It seems the airline has learned from its existing cabin configurations, and the A330-900neo reflects the burgeoning trend of increased premium leisure travel.
Where the A330-300 features 12 Business Class seats, and just 12 Premium Economy seats, the new aircraft features almost double the count, with 20 Business Class seats, and 21 premium economy seats. The sacrifice is found in the Economy Plus cabin, which is basically economy seats with a little extra legroom. This sub-class cabin still exists, but instead of a whopping 78 seats, the A330-900 Neo features just 33. Its commercially minded and logical to see this adaptation, it’s easier to generate increased revenues from an entirely different seat, than just an economy seat with a couple of extra perks.
But it’s not just a numbers game, the airline is firmly positioning itself as a real competitor to the likes of Air France. At the front, the airline has ditched the old angled lie-flat seats of Air France’s fleet, instead opting for fully flat, all-aisle access Stelia Aerospace ‘Opal’ seats.
What’s noticeable is the quality in the trim and finish, with a clear design palette running through all the cabin classes. Gone are the lilac finishes found in its previous and existing fleet, instead opting for a deep slate blue colour scheme throughout all the aircraft, creating a clean, concise and mature design palette that alludes to a premium proposition, even though that’s not Corsair’s core product premise.
In Premium Economy, the Z535 seat from Safran brings a new passenger experience to life. Instead of opting for the Z535i fixed shell product, the seats are more comfortable by offering a full deep recline and calf rest at every seat. In a 2 x 3 x 2 configuration, it’s a perfect mix for couples and young families travelling together, which will account for a majority of its passengers.
In economy things are a little tighter, with Corsair opting for a narrower 3 x 3 x 3 seat map, meaning there is an extra seat in every row in comparison to the usual Airbus A330 layout.
While taking away width the airline is offering a little extra legroom by adding the Economy Plus section, which is usually of more benefit to taller passengers and slightly larger TV screens for every passenger.
Corsair has upgraded the overall product, with an emphasis on the premium cabins, smartly without the compromise of the economy product. As far as charter and leisure carriers go, Corsair has done an excellent job of elevating its proposition, and we look forward to seeing if the rest of the fleet will eventually see a retrofit to a similar standard.