Air France once again considered the hypothetical model A220-500 as an ideal aircraft to replace its A320ceo jets in the future. At a news conference on Monday, Air France-KLM Group CEO Benjamin Smith said that a larger version of the old Bombardier plane would “make sense”.
Last year, Smith had already referred to a larger version of the A220 as a future option for renewing the airline’s fleet. A presentation by Air France even showed the term “A220-300/-500 (?)” in reference to the model. However, Airbus has so far not commented on this higher-capacity variant, despite the fact that other companies like Korean Air have also shown interest in it.
The boss of Air France-KLM went further and admitted to considering the 737 MAX as well. “Of course, now that the MAX is flying again, we could look at that,” said Smith, who included the new A321LR and A321XLR in those studies.
There are currently 115 A320 family aircraft in the Air France fleet. With the order for 60 A220-300 announced in 2019, the airline will retire the A318 (18 aircraft) and A319 (33 units) models, with 44 A320 and 20 A321 remaining with an average age of 11.2 years and 18.1 years, respectively.
If Air France prefers the 737 MAX, which seems unlikely, the airline would return to flying the Boeing model after taking the last -500 version planes out of service in 2007.
On the other hand, if Airbus decides to expand the A220 family, it may start offering a jet with an estimated capacity of 175 seats, adding a further three rows to the A220-300. This aircraft could have an approximate length of 41 meters and a range of at least 6,000 km.