DALLAS — Air France-KLM, the fourth-largest airline group in Europe, has confirmed that it will purchase 50 Airbus A350 family aircraft and has an option for an additional 40 planes. This order is part of the group’s efforts to renew its fleet and will include both the A350-900 and A350-1000 passenger variants. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2026 and be completed by 2030.
Benjamin Smith, the CEO of Air France-KLM Group, expressed that this order is a significant milestone in the fleet renewal process. The Airbus A350 is a technologically advanced aircraft that has been well-received by both passengers and crew at Air France (AF) since it was introduced in 2019.
Once the order is fulfilled, the airline group, created in 2004, will become the largest operator of Airbus A350 family aircraft, almost reaching the hundred mark and surpassing Qatar Airways (QR), which currently has 58 units in its fleet.
Saying Goodbye to Two Historic Airplanes
The distribution of the order between Air France (AF) and KLM (KL) has not been confirmed yet. Currently, AF has received 22 out of the 41 aircraft ordered earlier, while KLM (KL) has not received any.
Both airlines plan to replace their aging fleets of Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft, which will reach 17 years of service in 2023, with the Airbus A350.
The type offers improved avionics, aerodynamics, and most importantly, significantly better fuel efficiency compared to previous-generation planes. This is made possible by the state-of-the-art Rolls Royce Trent XWB engine installed on the A350.
Air France-KLM Routes, Fleet Statistics
The Air France-KLM Group holds the position of being the fourth-largest European airline entity in terms of the number of passengers it transports. In the year 2022, the group successfully served over 80 million customers, offering flights to 300 destinations worldwide. The group primarily operates from its main hubs located at Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Amsterdam-Schiphol (AMS) airports.
As of September 25th, the Air France-KLM Group owns a total of 533 aircraft. Once the order for the Airbus A350 is fully confirmed, the group will have a comprehensive order list consisting of 220 airplanes, which includes 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft.
Recently, the first A321neo aircraft, set to be delivered to Air France-KLM, was observed in Hamburg. The jet showcased a partial Transavia (HV) livery on its tail. The delivery of this initial unit is anticipated to take place in December 2023.
Featured image: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways