Air France-KLM Group have been shopping today it seems, with several new Airbus A350 orders confirmed.
The big headline is the Airbus A350F orders, for which the airline is ordering four of the type. These aircraft are to be operated by Martinair on behalf of KLM Cargo. These Airbus A350Fs will replace the fleet of 4 Boeing 747Fs currently operated by KLM Cargo and Martinair. They will be based at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
This is a repeat order for the group, as in December 2021, Air France-KLM had placed an order for 4 Airbus A350F full freighter aircraft for Air France. Deliveries to Martinair and Air France are expected as of the second half of 2026, meaning both airlines will be among the launch operators of the A350F full freighter.
In addition, the airline is also adding a firm order for 3 additional Airbus A350-900 passenger aircraft for Air France, bringing the total number of A350-900 expected by Air France to 41.
These Airbus A350s will replace previous-generation aircraft and be based at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, with them configured in a three-class configuration (Business, Premium Economy, Economy).
Deliveries for the passenger A350 aircraft are expected in 2024.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, said:
“Investing in the renewal of our fleet means investing in the future of our Group,” said
“I am delighted to announce that KLM and Air France’s cargo divisions will soon operate the quietest and most advanced full freighter aircraft available on the market, the Airbus A350F. This investment is evidence of our confidence in the sustainable growth of the cargo market in the coming years, as well as our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint. I am also very happy to announce that Air France will continue to accelerate the renewal of its fleet with the addition of 3 A350 passenger aircraft. Since its entry into service at Air France, the A350-900 has proved to be a reliable and efficient aircraft, as well as a game changer in terms of reduction of CO2 and noise emissions. We will continue our efforts to renew our fleet as quickly as possible to provide our customers with the best customer experience possible and to meet our ambitious decarbonization targets. ”
Meanwhile, Adriaan den Heijer, Executive Vice President of Air France KLM Cargo and Managing Director of Martinair, added:
“We are delighted to make this major step forward to the A350F. It accelerates Air France KLM Martinair Cargo sustainability ambitions with significant improvement on fuel emissions and complying with most stringent ICAO Chapter 14 for noise and CAEP 8 for NOx. We are fit for the future!”
Finally, Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International concluded.
Another A350F endorsement, and a great one too! We are delighted to see the A350F enter the KLM/Martinair world, confirming the relevance this most modern high capacity long range cargo aircraft brings to the airfreight segment. I am very pleased with the way our program is taking off. With 50% less noise, and 40% less fuel burn and CO2 emissions compared to the previous generation aircraft it is replacing, that is hardly a surprise! We thank Air France-KLM Group for their continued confidence.”
Another vote of confidence for the A350F project
The Airbus A350F seems to be doing reasonably good trade at this juncture, with the aircraft recording 35 orders from seven customers, as it seeks to fill the spot of airlines who seek to replace older aircraft and require new-build economics in terms of performance and environmental options.
Whilst seven wide-body orders may not seem a lot (compared to some of the mega-orders) – there seems to be confidence that the market is returning enough for operators to expand and renew whilst they can.
And confidence is what keeps part of the aviation market afloat – as well as hard cash.
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