Air France-KLM Orders up to 60 A220s, Plans A380 Retirement
Air France-KLM has committed to ordering up to 60 Airbus A220-300s, as part of a larger fleet shakeup that will also see its Airbus A380s disappear over the next three years.
The memorandum of understanding with Airbus covers 30 firm A220-300s plus 30 options with deliveries from Sept. 2021, Air France-KLM said on Tuesday. The aircraft will replace aging Airbus A318 and A319s in the Air France fleet.
“The acquisition of these brand-new A220-300s aligns perfectly with Air France-KLM’s overall fleet modernization and harmonization strategy,” said Benjamin Smith, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group. “This aircraft... is perfectly adapted to our domestic and European network and will enable Air France to operate more efficiently on its short and medium-haul routes.”
Air France says the A220-300, previously known as the Bombardier CS300, will seat 149 passengers with a range of 2,647 miles.
The carrier operated 18 A318s and 33 A319s at the end of March, its latest fleet plan shows.
In its decision to retire the A380 by 2022, Air France-KLM cites the Airbus superjumbo's fuel burn per seat that it says is 20-25% higher than for new-generation aircraft. Airbus' decision to end the A380 program, as well as maintenance and cabin retrofit expenses, also factored into the decision.
The A380 announcement was widely expected. Speculation had swirled for months that Air France may retire the fleet.
Passengers seeking to fly on the A380 before it goes still have several of options. The aircraft fly between Air France's Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) base and seven destinations, including Los Angeles (LAX), New York JFK and Washington Dulles (IAD), according to Diio by Cirium data.
Air France-KLM has firm orders for both Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 widebodies.