Aircalin will begin flying its new Airbus A330neo jets between Sydney and Noumea from September 2019, and there's a new business class seat to sweeten the admittedly short (three hour) journey.
The New Caledonian airline's A330neo Hibiscus business class adopts a modern 1-2-1 layout with 26 cocoon-like seats that transform into a fully flat bed.
The seats – based on the Opal platform of Stelia Aerospace, and a sibling of Stelia's Symphony design for the new business class for Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines – are a substantial upgrade from the 2-2-2 pods of Aircalin's current Airbus A330 business class, shown below.
Aircalin says its A330neo business class colour scheme "calls to mind the New Caledonian seashore with Pacific patterns, wood, coral, and sand colours."
Creature comforts include a retractable divider between the paired middle seats, ample storage space (including a personal items locker which the airline describes as a “treasure box"), a 15.6” high-definition touch screen and free WiFi.
The A330neo also marks the debut of Aircalin's new premium economy class, with 21 seats ranked in three rows of 2-3-2 in their own private cabin.
Each Aircalin A330neo premium economy seat is 17.7in (45cm) wide, with 37.8in (96cm) pitch and an 18° recline, a 13.5" HD screen and their own AC and USB power sockets. Premium economy passengers will also be offered one free hour of inflight WiFi.
The Airbus A330neo will take over the Sydney-Noumea route on Tuesdays and Fridays with a tentative start date of September 3.
The A330neo is an updated version of the popular A330 series, offering greater efficiency for airlines but also improved customer for passengers, including the AirSpace cabin concept featuring larger overhead luggage bins, LED lighting schemes and a "welcome area" by the doors.