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Air France: evolution of the Group's aircraft fleet

Important decisions of the board of directors

The Air France-KLM Board of Directors approved several strategic decisions concerning the development of the Air France fleet, following a meeting on July 30, 2019.

These decisions reflect the Group's focus on simplification. Making the fleet more competitive, by continuing its transformation with more modern, high-performance aircraft with a significantly reduced environmental footprint is key to achieving leading industry margins.

Firm order for 60 A-220/300s, with 30 options and 30 acquisition rights, which will gradually replace Air France's A-318 and A-319 fleet

Retirement of the 10 A-380s from the Air France fleet by 2022, and study of the replacement of them by new generation aircraft

Renewal of Air France's short- and medium-haul fleet

The carrier has committed to a firm order of 60 A-220/300 airplanes, with an additional 30 purchase options and 30 acquisition rights. The first aircraft should be delivered in September 2021. They will join its short- and medium-haul fleet. 

This plane will enable Air France to reduce its environmental footprint. The A-220/300 generates 20% less CO2 emissions than comparable aircraft in its class, and is twice as quiet.

With a capacity of 149 seats and an operating range of 2,300 nautical miles, the A-220/300 is suited to replace the A-318 and A-319 on the Air France short- and medium-haul network. 

Retirement of the A-380s from the Air France fleet by 2022

The Air France-KLM Board of Directors approved the retirement in principle of the remaining seven A-380s from the Air France fleet by 2022, the phase out of three additional aircraft having been decided previously. Five of these airplanes are owned by the company, while two are leased.

The current competitive environment limits the markets in which the A-380 can profitably operate. With four engines, the A-380 consumes 20-25% more fuel per seat than new generation long-haul aircraft, and therefore emits more CO2. Increasing aircraft maintenance costs, as well as necessary cabin refurbishments to meet customer expectations reduce the economic attractiveness of Air France's A-380s even further. Keeping this aircraft in the fleet would involve significant costs, while the aircraft programme was suspended by Airbus earlier in 2019.

The Group is studying possible replacement options for these airplanes with new generation aircraft currently on the market.

Air France-KLM operates a fleet of 541 units between its three main brands, Air France, KLM, and Transavia, to 318 destinations globally.  In 2018, AFKL flew over 100 million customers. 

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency