Franco-Dutch airline company Air France-KLM has decided to modernize its fleet by including new Airbus A220-300 aircraft and also by retiring its Airbus A380 superjumbo planes. As the part of the plan, it would buy 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft. The new model of aircraft is expected to reduce its operating expenses and also rein in carbon emissions.
“These decisions support the Air France-KLM Group’s fleet competitiveness strategy. 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,” company’s Chief Executive Ben Smith said in a statement, released ahead of the airline’s first-half earnings report on Wednesday.
At an actual price, 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft would come at a value of $5.5 billion. Among the 60 aircraft, 30 would be A220s that will be used for short and medium-haul flights, which are now handled by Airbus A318s and A319s. Airbus A220 can carry between 100-150 passengers and has a range of more than 6000 kms. According to Air France-KLM, A220 can reduce its per-seat operating cost by 10%.
Air France-KLM also plans to phase out the complete set of ten A380 superjumbos by 2022. A380 is said to have 20-25% higher fuel consumption than other aircraft, resulting not just in high fuel cost, but also more carbon emission. Air France-KLM recently placed the orders for A350 long-haul jets and Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which may replace the A380 superjumbos.
“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 crucial 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,” Smith added.