DALLAS – Air France-KLM (AF-KL) announced today it has ordered four Airbus A350F Freighters for KLM’s cargo subsidiary Martinair (MP), as well as a firm order for three additional A350-900 passenger aircraft for Air France (AF). These orders are included in the group’s fleet renewal plans.
The four new Airbus A350Fs will replace the current fleet of four Boeing 747F. These aircraft will be based in Amsterdam Schipol airport (AMS) and will enable the cargo subsidiary to operate a modern and efficient fleet.
This A350 freighters order is the second one for the AF-KLM group, after the December 2021 order for four units of the same aircraft to replace AF cargo’s fleet.
Deliveries for both orders are expected to start in the second half of 2026, which means both airlines are possible candidates for the launch operators of the new freighter. The airline highlighted the advantages of the new aircraft: CO2 emissions should be 40% lower than the B747F, and the noise footprint will be twice lower than older generation aircraft.
The French flag carrier will also benefit from this new A350 order, as three additional passenger A350-900 aircraft will join the airline’s fleet as soon as 2024. This recent decision brings to 41 the total number of A350-900s on order for AF, which already operates 20 of these wide-body aircraft.
These new long-haul aircraft will be based at AF’s hub in Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and will replace the airline’s aging fleet of Boeing 777-200 or other previous generations aircraft. The A350 is becoming the airline’s flagship aircraft, as new A350s join the fleet yearly.
“Investing in the renewal of our fleet means investing in the future of our Group”, said Benjamin Smith, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AF-KLM. Speaking of the A350F order, he explained. “This investment is evidence of our confidence in the sustainable growth of the cargo market in the coming years, as well as our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint.”
He also mentioned the passenger A350-900 deal, “I am also very happy to announce that Air France will continue to accelerate the renewal of its fleet with the addition of 3 A350 passenger aircraft. Since its entry into service at Air France, the A350-900 has proved to be a reliable and efficient aircraft, as well as a game changer in terms of reduction of CO2 and noise emissions.
He said, “We will continue our efforts to renew our fleet as quickly as possible to provide our customers with the best customer experience possible and meet our ambitious decarbonization targets.”
AF-KLM Fleet Renewal
With this new order, the airline will keep improving the efficiency of its fleet, replacing its older aircraft. AF is currently taking delivery of Airbus A220-300s to renew its medium-haul fleet as part of an order for 60 units.
Moreover, the other group airlines, KLM (KL) and Transavia (TO), also ordered 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft in December 2021 to replace their aging Boeing 737 fleets. The Dutch legacy airline has also taken delivery of over 20 Boeing 787 modern long-haul aircraft.
With this new order, the group accelerates the renewal of its long-haul cargo and passenger fleet. While the freighter aircraft will only join the airline fleet in 2026, the new A350-900 should be delivered in 2024. This order also confirms the Group’s confidence in its recovery from the pandemic before the announcement of its full-year results.
Featured Image: Air France operates the A350-900 on numerous long-haul routes from CDG. Photo: Francesco Cecchetti/Airways.