Air France-KLM Group have announced a major order – signifying another move from Boeing to Airbus. This time, they’re ordering 100 Airbus narrowbody aircraft for KLM and Transavia.
The group has paced a firm order for 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft – with purchase rights for 60 additional aircraft, to renew the fleets of KLM and Transavia Netherlands, and to renew and expand the fleet of Transavia France.
The order covers Airbus A320neo and Airbus A321neo aircraft. First deliveries are expected in the second half of 2023.
According to Air France-KLM, the A320neo family aircraft offer the best performance in their category for the network needs of the Group’s airlines. Compared to previous generation aircraft, they offer a unit cost reduction of more than 10%, as well as a 15% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Their noise footprint is also 50% lower.
The fleet renewal is the first lever to cut CO2 emissions for the airline. Alongside the use of sustainable aviation fuels and eco-piloting, it is one of the pillars of the Group’s decarbonization trajectory, which aims for net-zero emissions by 2050, and -50% CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 2030, i.e. -15% in absolute terms.
These aircraft will operate medium-haul routes in Europe, notably from Amsterdam-Schiphol – KLM’s global hub and Transavia Netherlands’ main base, and from Paris-Orly, Transavia France’s main base.
And so A350F freighters too…
On top of the mass order for 100 A320neo family aircraft, Air France-KLM has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the purchase of 4 Airbus A350F Full Freighter aircraft – with purchase rights for 4 additional aircraft
These aircraft will be used to increase the capacity of Air France, which currently use Boeing 777F freighters. This order will be used to increase Air France-KLM’s cargo capacity.
This order would come with full substitution rights to Airbus A350 passenger aircraft, which constitute the new spearhead of the Air France long-haul fleet. The airline currently operates 12 of the 38 aircraft of the type on order.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group, said:
“These evolutionary orders will position our Group airlines on the path to improved performance while accelerating our decarbonization trajectory. This is a major step forward for KLM, Transavia and Air France, which will operate the best aircraft available for their network needs. The outstanding performances of the A320neo family and of the A350F Full-Freighter, which are quieter, more fuel-efficient and more cost-effective aircraft, make them the best choices for the long-term growth of our fleet. They will be instrumental in reaching our ambitious targets, including zero net CO2 emissions by 2050.”
Kicking another OEM whilst they’re down.
For Boeing, this is another kick after the Qantas order that hit. Air-France-KLM Group currently operates:
- 10 Boeing 737-700
- 31 Boeing 737-800
- 5 Boeing 737-900
Meanwhile, Transavia (Netherlands) operates:
- 4 Boeing 737-700
- 85 Boeing 737-800
Finally, Transavia (France) operates:
- 54 Boeing 737-800
In total, there are 189 narrow-body Boeing aircraft up for replacement.
Whilst Air France-KLM has slightly underordered (allowing them to operate some for a bit longer), it’s going to be interesting to see where these aircraft end up, and more importantly – the internal configurations of them will what matter in the end.
That’s going to be the interesting part to see.
As for the extra A350F aircraft – these are rather flexible if they choose to deploy them – or choose to convert them into passenger aircraft if needed.
It’s been a rather good week in the office for Airbus. Of course, the trick will be to deliver them in the timeframes given…
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