There are more orders afoot today, with Air France-KLM Group announcing they’re pressing the accelerator on their fleet renewal.
Air France Airbus A350-900 arriving at Chicago O’Hare – Image, Economy Class and Beyond
The group is signing initially for 50 Airbus A350 family aircraft – with purchase rights for 40 additional aircraft – to accelerate the renewal of its long-haul fleet. This takes them to 90 aircraft if fully exercised. Deliveries are expected in 2026 through to 2030.
This will be an evolutionary order, providing the Group with the flexibility to allocate aircraft within its portfolio of airlines, according to market dynamics and local regulatory conditions
The move when exercised will make Air France-KLM the world’s largest operator of the Airbus A350 family aircraft, as the airline rationalises and renws its fleet.
This Group order will cover 50 Airbus A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft – with purchase rights for 40 additional aircraft. These will replace previous-generation aircraft, namely Airbus A330 and older Boeing 777 aircraft.
This new order will come in addition to an existing Air France-KLM order for 41 Airbus A350-900s for Air France, of which 22 have been delivered to date, as well as the eight Airbus A350F aircraft on order.
Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith stated:
“This new order will be a major step in the renewal of the Group’s fleet. The Airbus A350 is a state-of-the-art aircraft with an excellent track record at Air France, where it has rapidly become a favorite among passengers and crew since its entry into service in 2019. It is the perfect fit for the network needs of the Group and boasts outstanding performances: it is a quieter, more fuel efficient and more cost-effective aircraft compared to previous generations. It will be instrumental in helping the Group reach our ambitious sustainability targets, including -30% CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer by 2030.”
Looking at the numbers
As this is targeting their older fleets, let us remind ourselves of what is currently in the fleet (based on airfleets.net data):
- Air France: A330-200 – 15 Aircraft
- Air France: Boeing 777-200ER – 18 Aircraft
- Air France: Boeing 777-300ER – 43 Aircraft
- KLM: Airbus A330-200 – 6 Aircraft
- KLM: Airbus A330-200 – 5 Aircraft
- KLM: Boeing 777-200ER – 15 Aircraft
- KLM: Boeing 777-300ER – 16 Aircraft
In total, 118 aircraft in its current fleet could be up for replacement. If we focus away from the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (although some of those are ageing), this goes down to 59 aircraft that could well be removed first (A330-200, A330-300, B777-200ER).
There’s plenty of room for growth – even if it seems there could be gritting of teeth over at Boeing, who seemed to be offering Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 787-10 as their option. With Air France-KLM doing the numbers, it seems that they’re happy with the Airbus option.
Expect to see these aircraft filter through the rest of the joint fleet over the next few years.
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