MIAMI — The first Airbus A350-900 for Air France performed its maiden flight in Toulouse, France.
The carrier has an active order for 28 A350-900s, which will come into the airline’s fleet to replace all the elder A340-300s and retire some of the older Boeing 777s, of which Air France is the fourth largest operator for in the world.
Air France expects to receive its first A350 (F-HTYA • MSN331) next month. The airline will base the type at its Paris (CDG) hub and launch it on flights to Bamako-Senou Airport (BKO) in Mali, and Abidjan (ABJ), both of which will start on September 23, 2019.
Then, from November 25, Air France will operate the brand-new A350 daily between CDG to Toronto (YYZ).
Air France also plans to operate the A350 between CDG and Seoul-Incheon (ICN) on a one-off basis, on March 29, 2020. The airline will announce more A350 routes in the coming weeks and months.
The French carrier’s A350s will feature 324 seats, in a three-class configuration: 34 in Business class, 24 in Premium Economy and 266 in Economy.
The airline has also confirmed that the new A350-900s will come with an all-new cabin, including a brand new Business Class, featuring the Zodiac Optima seats—the same model United Airlines uses in its Polaris product.
In addition to the incoming A350s, Air France recently placed a blockbuster order for 60 Airbus A220-300s. The carrier also plans to retire all its Airbus A380s by 2022 and are currently evaluating a replacement aircraft type.