Xinyi Liang-Pholsena takes a seat on board Air Mauritius’ brand-new aircraft and discovers an exciting addition to the Airbus family.
Air Mauritius took delivery of its two Airbus A330-900neo order on April 18, becoming the first operator of the new aircraft type in the Southern Hemisphere and the world’s first airline to operate a combination of both the A330neo and A350XWB.
The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest Trent 7000 engines and features a new wing with increased span, and new A350XWB-inspired sharklets. Air Mauritius’ A330neo is currently deployed on routes connecting Port Louis to London Heathrow, Paris, Mumbai and Singapore, among others.
Air Mauritius flies to Singapore thrice weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with a fourth weekly flight to be added during peak season between November 10, 2019 and January 12, 2020.
After stopping in Singapore, the service continues to Kuala Lumpur before turning back to Singapore for the onward journey to Mauritius. The overall journey between Singapore and Port Louis span a distance of 3,261km and nearly seven hours.
I was excited to experience the A330neo, as Air Mauritius is one of the earliest adopters of this new aircraft type at time of flying – with other operators being TAP Air Portugal and Air Senegal with no passenger services in South-east Asia.
As I prepared to board the new plane, named Aapravasi Ghat after the UNESCO World Heritage Site near Port Louis in Mauritius, I noted the ‘sunglasses’ effect around the cockpit windows, not unlike its A350 cousin.
The A330neo plane has 260 seats in economy class with a 2-4-2 configuration and 28 seats in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration. My economy-class seat offers pretty generous legroom at 18 inches with a six-inch recline, and despite occupying a central seat I did not feel cramped during the entire journey. On my return trip to Singapore, I had an aisle seat and was even able to catch a couple of hours’ of sleep during the seven-hour flight.
The take-off and landing on the new aircraft was visibly smooth, and I could track the progress as the plane flew over the Indian Ocean on the full HD screen. The inflight entertainment also featured an interesting selection of songs and movies, with Wi-Fi on board.
The inflight meal was my first introduction to Mauritian cuisine, with options such as black lentils and fish curry. The overall flight was quiet and the LED mood lighting changed as the flight progressed, and the flight crew was friendly and professional.
The A330neo definitely offers similar levels of comfort as the A350XWB. Safe, comfortable and professional, I definitely look forward to flying with Air Mauritius again.