By Taylor Rains
A First Look at Air France’s New Airbus A220
On Monday, Air France’s brand new Airbus A220 rolled out of the paint shop sporting a sleek, elegant look. The aircraft, which will be delivered in September, is the first of 60 A220-300s the airline has on order. The addition of the A220 into Air France’s fleet should prove beneficial for the airline and its customers considering its improved range, comfort, low operating costs and reduced environmental impact.
Air France’s first A220 debuted with the airline’s updated livery seen on a handful of recently repainted aircraft. Revisions include making the Air France typography larger, moving the SkyTeam logo to the rear of the plane and improving the prominence of the Hippocampe Ailé, also known as the winged seahorse.
The iconic emblem has long been a part of Air France’s history, dating back to 1932 when it became the logo of a French airline called Air Orient. The company flew seaplanes and wanted a logo that symbolized power, speed and the airline. Thus, the winged seahorse was born, with a horse head for power, bird wings for speed and a shrimp tail for seaplanes.
When Air Orient merged with Air Union, Compagnie Générale Aéropostale, Compagnie Internationale de Navigation Aérienne (CIDNA) and Société Générale des Transports Aériens in October of 1933 to create Air France, the new airline adopted the historic emblem. Now, 88 years later, it has been painted larger and placed in a more prominent spot on the company’s aircraft.
In addition to the above changes, there are also a few other subtle adjustments made to the livery. These include the removal of the Air France-KLM logo and the placement of the aircraft type on the back of the plane with the SkyTeam logo.
Il arrive ! ✈️#AirFrance se prépare à l’arrivée de son 1er #A220 qui vient de sortir des ateliers de peinture d’@Airbus https://t.co/DToz88yVF4
She’s coming!✈️#AirFrance prepares for the arrival of its 1st #A220 which has just left the @Airbus paint shop https://t.co/bScvdHXQOd pic.twitter.com/Vagtxmx8FG
— Air France Newsroom (@AFnewsroom) July 26, 2021
Six of the 60 A220 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to Air France by the end of 2021 and will operate short and medium-haul routes. The fleet will likely serve busy European cities, like Amsterdam, Rome, Brussels, Berlin, and London. However, the aircraft’s long-range capabilities make it versatile for hotspot destinations in Africa and the Middle East as well. The airplane is expected to replace the airline’s aging A318 and A319 jets and contribute to Air France’s goal of zero net emissions by 2050.
When the Air France-KLM Group got a bailout in April 2020, the French and Dutch governments set conditions to reduce the Group’s carbon footprint. Targets include reducing emissions in France by 50% by 2024 and cutting the volume of CO2 per km in half by 2030. The A220 is an excellent aircraft for meeting these goals. According to the airline, the plane emits 20% less CO2 and cuts the cost per seat mile by 10%.