KLM is very close to announcing an order for up to 160 new single-aisle commercial jets. The Dutch airline intends to renew its fleet of one-aisle aircraft, but also expand the operations of Transavia, a low-cost subsidiary that also operates in France.
This week, Boet Kreiken, Executive Vice President Customer Experience, spoke to Air Insight about the competition being made with Airbus and Boeing.
The company’s goal is to replace the Boeing 737-700, -800 and -900 used today on its routes with more efficient aircraft. There are 47 aircraft with an average age of 14.5 years, according to Planespotters.
The agreement will be broader in that it includes the modernization and expansion of the Dutch and French Transavia fleet, which together have more than 90 737 jets.
Boeing offers the 737 MAX while Airbus plans to supply the A320neo and A321neo. According to Kreiken, the decision will be difficult as the proposals are very close. Pratt & Whitney and CFM are also participating in the tender, with the PW1000G and Leap-1 engines.
The decision, however, is very close to being taken, said the KLM executive. The agreement may involve direct acquisition with the two planemakers, but also include leasing contracts, such as the one that Cityhopper, a regional division, did to receive Embraer’s E195-E2.
Despite the alliance with Air France, the Dutch carrier has prioritized Boeing jets such as the 787 and 737. Its French partner, however, has just received the first A220 and seems more interested in expanding the original fleet of 60 aircraft on order .