It’s been a while, but finally – Air France has taken delivery of its first A220-300 in a ceremony today.
This A220-300 is the first of 60 aircraft that will join the Air France fleet, as it renews its existing fleet. They will replace Airbus A318, Airbus A319 and some Airbus A320 aircraft that are in the fleet.
The order is a big one – with 60 firm orders, 30 options and 30 purchase rights.
The first A220-300 will be known as “Le Bourget” in homage to the town north of Paris which is deeply linked to the aviation industry. It is presented in Air France’s house livery, with the winged seahorse on the front of its fuselage and on its wingtips, the symbol embodying the company’s founding myth.
The Air France Airbus A220-300 has 148 seats, in a 3-2 seat configuration (5 seats across) offering 80% of customers a window or aisle seat.
It offers two travel cabins, Business and Economy, and access to Air France Connect, the airline’s inflight Wi-Fi service.
The seat is wide, coming in at 48cm (or 18.9″ inches). It reclines to 118 degrees and has an adjustable headrest, leather upholstery and an ergonomic seat cushion for enhanced comfort. A tray table, cup holder, a pouch for storing magazines and books, individual USB A and C ports and tablet or smartphone holder integrated into the backrest complete the package.
Whilst the pitch has not been disclosed, it would be safe to assume 29″, which appears to be standard these days.
The cabin is decorated in the Air France signature colours – shades of blue, a strong presence of white providing light and contrast, and a hint of red.
The carpet revisits the traditional ornamental herringbone pattern, symbolizing the emblematic Haussmann-inspired world of Parisian apartments.
Introduction to service
Air France will be putting its A220-300 fleet to work quickly, with the following destinations confirmed in the initial rollout from the 31st of October, 2021:
- Berlin (Germany)
- Barcelona (Spain)
- Madrid (Spain)
- Milan-Linate (Italy)
- Venice (Italy)
These aircraft will be based out of the airline’s hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. During the winter season, other destinations will come in, including:
- Bologna (Italy)
- Rome (Italy)
- Lisbon (Portugal)
- Copenhagen (Denmark)
Dates for these services are to be confirmed.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM said
“This new aircraft with an unparalleled energy performance represents a major asset for Air France. To date, fleet renewal is the main source of reducing CO2 emissions, and this is why we are continuing to invest in latest-generation aircraft. We are also activating all the levers at our disposal such as sustainable fuels or eco-piloting, as part of our contribution to promoting a carbon-neutral air transport industry and positioning ourselves as a leading player of a more sustainable aviation”
Anne Rigail, CEO of Air France said
“The arrival of a new aircraft is always a special occasion for an airline. All the Air France teams have spent over two years preparing for this moment and we are excited to see our customers discover the optimal comfort offered by this aircraft. The cabin is more spacious, brighter, and offers full Wi-Fi-connectivity, further contributing to the upmarket positioning of our offer.” added
Filling those smaller Airbus gaps
If we look at the recent Airbus order book, you’ll note there have been minimal A319neo orders, with the orders gravitating to the larger A320neo and A321neo and its variants.
But there’s still a gap at the sub 150 seat market – a slot that the Airbus A220-100 and A220-300 have seemed to take to their advantage.
Whilst a common cockpit advantage is lost for now (with the A220 and A320 families having different cockpits due to their linages), Air France is counting on saving money – not only can the A220-300 hold up to 148 passengers, but it will also happily swallow up A318 and A319 loads, whilst having spare room aboard, allowing for growth
With some of the older A320 aircraft being targeted too in this renewal, Air France is looking towards the A220 to deliver benefits and lower costs.
And I’m sure other airlines who have fleet renewals in mind will be paying very close attention.
Images, Air France.
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