By Charlotte Seet
Air France Welcomes 11th Airbus A350 As It Prepares for Winter Schedule Increases
In September 2019, Air France took delivery of its first Airbus A350 XWB, the first aircraft of the then initial order of 28 of the type. Subsequently, in November of the same year, Air France decided to place an additional order for another 10 A350-900s, taking the total order to the current 38.
The decision for the new A350 orders was made on account of the airline’s initiative to renew its fleet, with the new-generation aircraft slated to replace its Airbus A380s. Additionally, the A350s were also set to help the airline accelerate the departure of its A340s, too.
Unfortunately, due to the sudden onset of the Covid-19 pandemic that saw the aviation industry crippled and many airlines launch into early retirement programs for several aircraft, the French carrier suffered. Air France had to defer the remaining deliveries of the much-anticipated A350s until a later date. As a result of the pandemic, the airline also had to force an even earlier retirement upon its A380s and A340s.
Eventually, as worldwide vaccination programs picked up a steady pace and air travel started a slow recovery, Air France and Airbus were once again ready to continue their transaction and the France-based aircraft manufacturer was able to successfully deliver more A350s to Air France, having delivered the 10th aircraft back in June.
Air France achieved another milestone in its fleet renewal strategy on Tuesday, when it announced the arrival of its 11th Airbus A350 out of the 38 ordered.
Registered as F-HTYJ, the newcomer bears the nickname “Cannes” as a tribute to the iconic city on the French Riviera, as the city has also recently made its comeback with its annual international film festival.
Set to be the airline’s new flagship, the airline’s A350s are retrofitted with 324 seats, with 34 in the business class cabin, 24 in the premium economy cabin and the remaining 266 in the economy cabin.
The airline will launch a number of new flights with the A350 this winter as the airline debuts a set of routes, both new and restarting, with the hope of reconnecting passengers to destinations worldwide.
The A350s are set to operate on the Paris-Miami route starting from the end of October, as Air France will start to offer up to 12 weekly flights that will be operated by the newly added aircraft, as well as its Boeing 777-300s.
A hefty reduction of 40% in noise footprint is meant to allow passengers to enjoy quieter cabins for a smoother and more pleasant flight journey. The aircraft also use 25% less fuel than comparable previous generation aircraft.
The choice for using the A350s also helps the airline in accelerating an environmentally-conscious change towards its HORIZON 2030 commitment, which pledges that Air France is committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 50% by 2030.
As of currently, the aircraft type is headed for the airline’s long-haul routes to destinations in Brazil, Canada, India, Liberia and Mali.
As for the remaining 27 A350s, they are set to be delivered through 2025, and the airline is planning on the renewal of its short- and medium-haul fleet to begin in September, with the delivery of the first of the 60 Airbus A220s ordered.