By Matteo Giardini
Air France Adds First A220 to Fleet, Announces First Destinations
Air France took delivery of its first Airbus A22-300 on Wednesday, welcoming an aircraft it christened “Le Bourget,” named for a French town north of Paris with close historical ties to aviation and home of Paris-Le Bourget Airport, the Air and Space Museum and the biennial Paris-Le Bourget International Air Show.
The aircraft is set to be the first of 60 of the type the airline will take delivery of in the coming years, which are set to replace the aging Airbus A318s, Airbus A319s and certain Airbus A320s the airline currently has in its fleet in addition to reducing the airline’s carbon footprint. The A220-300 is set to reduce CO2 emissions by 20%, reduce costs per seat by 10% and have a 34% reduction in noise footprint over the current generation of aircraft it will replace.
“This new aircraft with an unparalleled energy performance represents a major asset for Air France,” Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith said in a statement. “To date, fleet renewal is the main source of reducing CO2 emissions, and this is why we are continuing to invest in latest-generation aircraft. We are also activating all the levers at our disposal such as sustainable fuels or eco-piloting, as part of our contribution to promoting a carbon-neutral air transport industry and positioning ourselves as a leading player of a more sustainable aviation.” The aircraft will be a major contributor to meeting the stringent emission targets imposed by both the French and Dutch governments for Air France-KLM Group’s bailout conditions in April 2020.
The A220-300 will be configured with 148 seats in a 3-2 configuration offering 80% of customers a window or aisle seat. In addition, windows onboard the A220 are 50% larger than those on the current Airbus A320 family.
Two travel cabins will be offered — Business and Economy. Access to Inflight Wi-Fi will be offered via Air France Connect furthermore, and access to individual USB A and C ports along with a table or smartphone holder integrated into the backrest will be provided. Air France has also installed High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to recycle and filter air.
“The arrival of a new aircraft is always a special occasion for an airline,” Air France CEO Anne Rigail said in the same statement. “All the Air France teams have spent over two years preparing for this moment and we are excited to see our customers discover the optimal comfort offered by this aircraft. The cabin is more spacious, brighter, and offers full Wi-Fi-connectivity, further contributing to the upmarket positioning of our offer.”
Beginning Oct. 31, the aircraft is set to begin flying to five destinations including the likes of Berlin; Milan; Venice, Italy; Barcelona and Madrid, Spain from the Air France hub at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. More destinations will be added onto the network during the 2021-2022 winter season including Bologna and Rome, Italy; Lisbon, Portugal and Copenhagen, Denmark. More cities, such as destinations in Africa and the Middle East, are expected to be added to the Airbus A220’s network because of the long-range capabilities of the aircraft compared to its similarly-sized predecessors.