Air France Reaffirms Interest In Stretched Airbus A220

At the end of August, what would become Air France’s first Airbus A220 conducted its maiden flight. Moreover, this week the flag carrier of France finally received the critically acclaimed narrowbody. Despite not yet entering the plane into service, Air France has expressed its keenness for a stretched version of the model.

Air France A220
Air France is looking to bring a cost reduction per seat of 10% while reducing CO2 emissions by 20% with the A220. Photo: Air France

Leveling up

Air France placed an order for 60 A220-300s. These planes are set to take over services conducted by the airline’s A318s and A319s. Overall, they will be spotted across the carrier’s short and medium-haul route network.

Airline Ratings shares that Air France/KLM CEO Benjamin Smith recently gave details about the A220 stretch plans. The executive said that his company has long told Airbus that it is highly interested in such an aircraft to replace the A320.

Moreover, Airbus CCO Christian Scherer backed these remarks by stating that it has been a long-standing desire to introduce a stretched A220. He concluded that it’s not a question of if, but when the plane will become the successor of the A320 family. Notably, designs for a stretched A220 have been in place since when Bombardier was drawing up blueprints for the CSeries, a type that would end up becoming the A220 after Airbus snapped up the program.

Airbus’ leadership estimates that it may be by around the middle of this decade for the stretch to come to fruition. This plane would add six rows of seats, expending the capacity to nearly 200 seats in a one-class setting, up from 160 on the A220-300 in a tight configuration.

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Air France also has agreed an additional mix of 30 options and 30 purchase rights for the A220. Photo: Air France

Grand prospects

Despite the excitement about the future, Air France is also ecstatic about the current additions. The A220-300 will be flying to the likes of Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, and Venice from the end of the month, gearing up a new chapter for the company.

“This new aircraft with an unparalleled energy performance represents a major asset for Air France. To date, fleet renewal is the main source of reducing CO2 emissions, and this is why we are continuing to invest in latest-generation aircraft,” Benjamin Smith in a statement this week.

“We are also activating all the levers at our disposal such as sustainable fuels or eco-piloting, as part of our contribution to promoting a carbon-neutral air transport industry and positioning ourselves as a leading player of a more sustainable aviation.”

Swiss Bombardier CS300 - Airbus A220
Over 170 A220s have been built. Photo: Getty Images

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The A220 is still a new player in the game, having been introduced with SWISS only five years ago. The likes of Delta Air Lines, airBaltic, and Air Canada have shared significant praise for the aircraft for its efficiency. As a result, stretching the plane is a natural evolution, but with the A320neo family program still popular as ever, Airbus won’t be in any rush to deliver the prospective A220 variant.

What are your thoughts about Air France’s plans for the Airbus A220? What do you make of the stretch prospects? Let us know what your overall thoughts are in the comment section.

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