Air France has ordered 10 Airbus A350-900s to replace the Airbus A380s currently in operation and which are to be retired between now and the end of 2022.
According to an announcement, with this decision, the Air France and Air France-KLM Boards of Directors are pursuing fleet rationalization and simplification strategy.
KLM is already well on its way to simplifying its long-haul fleet which will ultimately consist of only Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft, sharing a common pilot type rating, the announcement said.
At Air France, the upcoming order will bring the total number of A350 aircraft to 38, including three that have already been delivered.
This is the next step for Air France as it pursues the same fleet simplification strategy. As a result, in 2023, the Air France long-haul fleet will consist of 116 aircraft split amongst only four families: Airbus A330s and A350s, and Boeing 787s and 777s. As at KLM, this will bring Air France greater operational flexibility, as well as the opportunity to make significant economies of scale, thanks in particular to reducing the number of pilot qualifications to three by 2023 – Airbus A330/A350, Boeing 787, and Boeing 777.
The arrival of the new-generation aircraft will also allow the company to accelerate the departure of the Airbus A340s during the first quarter of 2021.
The Airbus A350-900 combines economic efficiency and environmental performance, with 25 percent less fuel consumed compared to previous-generation aircraft, i.e., 2.5 litres per passenger/100km. It also boasts a 40 percent reduction in noise footprint. The Air France A350-900 is equipped with a spacious and silent cabin, a latest-generation IFE system and Wi-Fi connection for customer comfort.
Air France-KLM currently operates a fleet of 159 Airbus aircraft.