Air France-KLM Group has signed a memorandum of understanding for 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft to modernise its fleet.
The planes are intended to be operated by Air France and will replace the outgoing fleet of Airbus A318 and Airbus A319 planes, of which Air France has a total of 51.
“The acquisition of these brand new A220-300s aligns perfectly with Air France-KLM’s overall fleet modernisation and harmonisation strategy,” said Benjamin Smith, chief executive of the Air France-KLM Group.
“This aircraft demonstrates optimum operational and economic efficiency and enables us to further improve our environment 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 A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market.
It brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20 per cent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft.
Air France currently operates a fleet of 144 Airbus aircraft.
“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.
“We are committed to supporting Air France with our A220 by bringing the latest technologies, efficiency levels, and environment benefits.
“We are delighted to embark on this partnership, and we are looking forward to seeing the A220 flying in the Air France colours.”
With an order book of 551 aircraft as of end of June, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100-to-150-seat aircraft market, estimated to represent 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.
As part of a wider fleet simplification, Air France also announced plans to retire its ten Airbus A380s by 2022.
Previously the airline had planned to phase out three of the planes in the next few years, but keep the rest.
Now the flag-carrier will phase them all out in the next few years.
Of the seven additional planes being retired, five are owned by the company, and two are leased.