A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 60 A220-300 aircraft has been signed by the Air France–KLM Group after a long-awaited decision in a move by the carrier to modernise its fleet. This simply means 30 confirmed units and 30 options, September 2021 being the set date of delivery and entry into service.
“It is an honour for Airbus that Air France, a long-standing valued customer, has endorsed our latest family member, the A220, for its fleet renewal plans,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to supporting Air France with our A220 by bringing the latest technologies, efficiency levels, and environmental benefits. We are delighted to embark on this partnership and we are looking forward to seeing the A220 flying in the Air France colours.”
Purposely built for the 100-150 seat market, The A220 delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and wide-body passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. It can travel on journeys as long as 2,300 nautical miles, bringing together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft.
“The acquisition of these brand new A220-300s aligns perfectly with Air France–KLM’s overall fleet modernisation and harmonisation strategy,” said Benjamin Smith, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group. “This aircraft demonstrates optimum operational and economic efficiency and enables us to further improve our environmental footprint thanks to the A220’s low fuel consumption and reduced emissions. It is also perfectly adapted to our domestic and European network and will enable Air France to operate more efficiently on its short and medium-haul routes.”
The A380 Farewell
Air France operates 10 A380s. Three are planned for decommissioning, five of the seven remaining planes are owned by Air France, with the other two currently on lease.
An audit led by the airline’s new CEO, Benjamin Smith revealed that the plane had become too expensive to run, especially when compared to the Boeing 777-300(ER)s that the airline deploys on similar missions.
“Keeping this aircraft in the fleet would involve significant costs, while the aircraft program was suspended by Airbus earlier in 2019.” The company said in a statement.
Air France currently operates a fleet of 144 Airbus aircraft.