Thu, 1 Aug 2019

Air France to Order 60 Airbus A220-300s; Confirms Plan to Retire All A380s

Air France has committed to a firm order of 60 A220-300s, with 30 options and 30 acquisition rights.

The aircraft will gradually replace Air France's A318 and A319 fleet.

The first A220-300 aircraft, which should be delivered in September 2021, will join Air France's short and medium-haul fleet.

The A220-300s will help Air France to reduce its environmental footprint as the aircraft generates 20% less CO2 emissions than comparable aircraft in its class, and is twice as quiet.

The A220-300 will have a capacity of 149 seats and an operating range of up to 3,400 nautical miles.

Air France Airbus A380. Click to enlarge.

Air France to Retire Remaining A380s

The Air France-KLM Board of Directors have also approved the retirement in principle of the remaining seven A380s from the Air France fleet by 2022. Five of these aircraft are owned by the company, while two are leased.

While extremely popular with passengers, the current competitive environment limits the markets in which the A380 can profitably operate. With four engines, the A380 consumes 20-25% more fuel per seat than new generation long-haul aircraft, and therefore emits more CO2. Increasing aircraft maintenance costs, as well as necessary cabin refurbishments to meet customer expectations, reduce the economic attractiveness of Air France's A380s even further.

The Air France KLM Group says it is studying possible replacement options for the A380 aircraft.

"These decisions support the Air France-KLM Group's fleet competitiveness strategy," said Benjamin Smith, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group. "They follow the recent orders for A350s and Boeing 787s that Air France and KLM have placed. We are very pleased to work with Airbus to add the A220-300 to our fleet, an aircraft that demonstrates optimum environmental, operational, and economic efficiency. The selection of the Airbus A220-300 supports our goal of a more sustainable operation, by significantly reducing CO2 and noise emissions. This aircraft will also provide our customers with additional comfort on the short and medium-haul network and will provide our pilots with a connected cockpit with access to the latest navigation technology. This is a very important next step in Air France's transformation, and this evolution in Air France's fleet underlines the group's determination to attain European airline leadership.

Air France-KLM operates a fleet of 541 aircraft between its three main brands, Air France, KLM, and Transavia, to 318 destinations globally. In 2018, AFKL flew over 100 million customers.

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