After almost eight years, Air France announced a new aircraft order. The group closed deal with Airbus to buy 60 A220-300 with 30 option an 30 acquisition rights.
This is Air France’s largest order since the deal closed by the advanced jets Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 at the beginning of the decade and also included Dutch partner KLM.
The A220 is actually the CSeries, developed by Canadian Bombardier and which had most of the program taken over by Airbus last year. The project, considered extremely efficient for its economy and comfort, had a larger cost to the manufacturer who gave up operating in the commercial aviation segment.
In the hands of Airbus, the A220, as it was renamed, has gained new customers such as Delta Air Lines and JetBlue, two US airlines, which have dealt a heavy blow to Boeing.
The A220 option is strictly economical: the Canadian jet can save about 20% fuel compared to older aircraft. The first aircraft should be delivered in September 2021.
While not confirming, Air France is heading towards a virtually 100% Airbus fleet.It currently flies with the 777 and 787 widebodies, but has already announced that it will receive all A350s from its 2011 order in conjunction with KLM. It is not yet known what it will do with its 70 Boeing 777, long-range fleet base.
As for narrowbodies, the French airline choose the larger capacity variant, the A220-300, a jet capable of carrying around 149 passengers. It will replace older A320 family aircraft such as the A318 and A319 which now total 50 units.
The order will be exclusive to Air France. That’s because KLM, unlike the French company, flies the Boeing 737 on its main routes while the Cityhopper regional division has just opted for its A220 rival, the Embraer E195-E2, which has closed deals for 35 aircraft.