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The French must think Americans are really overweight. So much so that Air France is introducing a “very wide-bodied” Airbus A380 to its transatlantic fleet, with routes on the jumbo jet set to operate between Paris (CDG) and New York (JFK) as of November 2009. As the first European airline to incorporate the massive A380s into its fleet, Air France is planning to auction off seats on the inaugural November 20th (Paris to New York) and November 21st (New York to Paris) flights, with proceeds set to fund three humanitarian projects supported by the Air France Foundation for children in need.

The portly double-decker will hold a whopping 538 passengers divided into three cabin classes: Voyageur, Affaires and Première (economy, business, and first respectively). Equipped with four GP7200 engines developed by the veritable Manhattan Project (without explosions, we hope) of aviation, Engine Alliance, the A380 can fly its 538 passengers up to a distance of 8,100 miles. This hefty aircraft watches its calories though: it has one of the lowest fuel consumption rates per passenger among the new generation aircraft. Air France has 12 Airbus A380s on order in all, four of which will debut by spring 2010.

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