By Charlotte Seet
Air France-KLM Group Secures Massive Airbus Orders
Ever since the Airbus A350F freighter derivative received its approval, it has certainly proved to be quite the successful rain-maker for Airbus as the aircraft manufacturer has been receiving orders consistently in these recent two months.
Just days after Singapore Airlines became the first airline to sign for seven A350F, another airline group has joined in the bandwagon and this one hits closer to home for Airbus.
The Air-France KLM Group currently operates a fleet of 502 aircraft to over 300 destinations globally. And as an effort to improve the overall economic and environmental performance of its fleet, the Air France-KLM Group has decided to bank on Airbus for its fleet renewal program, by handing a firm order for 100 A320neos paired with the purchase rights for another 60 aircraft.
This bulk order will cover both the A320neo and A321neo aircraft and was chosen because the A320neo family offered a better-reduced unit cost, as well as better fuel consumption and noise footprint reductions – all of which aligned with the Group’s objectives for fleet renewal.
With the first deliveries scheduled for the second half of 2023, these aircraft will be operating medium-haul routes in Europe, notably from Amsterdam Schiphol – KLM’s global hub and Transavia Netherlands’ main base, and from Paris-Orly, Transavia France’s main base.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group, said in a press release: “These evolutionary orders will position our Group airlines on the path to improved performance while accelerating our decarbonization trajectory. This is a major step forward for KLM, Transavia and Air France, which will operate the best aircraft available for their network needs.”
Whilst the bulk order of the A320neo aircraft might have already been shocking, but the Air France-KLM Group had one more order up its sleeve as the airline group had also signed a Letter of Intent for four A350F freighters – all of which will be directed to the Air France fleet.
Additionally, the Letter of Intent also includes purchasing rights for four more aircraft – if needed – to increase the cargo capacity at Air France and also comes with full substitution rights to the A350 passenger aircraft, which currently constitutes as the new spearhead for the Air France long-haul fleet.
Currently, Air France operates 12 of the 38 A350 passenger aircraft on order, and together with Singapore Airlines – and perhaps with the possibility of another airline – Air France-KLM would be among the launch operators of the A350F.
“The outstanding performances of the A350F Full-Freighter, which are quieter, more fuel-efficient and more cost-effective aircraft, make them the best choices for the long-term growth of our fleet. They will be instrumental in reaching our ambitious targets, including zero net CO2 emissions by 2050,” added Smith.
With the orders steadily rolling in for Airbus, and with even more speculations arising on the next potential A350F customer, Airbus is certainly closing off this year with quite a successful tide.