Earlier today, Air France’s tenth Boeing 787-9 landed at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. This aircraft is the last of an order that made headlines last year when Air France and KLM swap its remaining Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 orders. Let’s investigate further.
What’s next for Air France?
The Boeing 787-9, registration F-HRBJ, will join the airline’s long-haul fleet, which is currently composed of almost every aircraft model. According to Planespotters.net, the French carrier has 15 Airbus A330s, one Airbus A340, six Airbus A350XWBs, 70 Boeing 777s, and ten Boeing 787 Dreamliners. It also had up to ten Airbus A380s, but recently decided to retire them immediately.
Air France is modernizing and renewing its fleet with more modern, efficient, and eco-friendly airplanes, it said in a statement. The carrier added,
“The forthcoming deliveries of new-generation aircraft will concern the A350s on the long-haul network followed by the A220s on the short and medium-haul network.”
Currently, Air France expects to cut around 7,500 or 15% of its workforce, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The French airline also received US$7.87 billion (no pun intended) in aid to survive the current crisis. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the carrier from retiring one of its most iconic airframes, the A380.
Why did Air France and KLM swap?
In June 2019, Air France and KLM announced they were swapping their orders for new long-haul airplanes. At that time, that meant that the six remaining Boeing 787 ordered for Air France would be transferred to KLM. Meanwhile, the current seven A350-900 for KLM would go to the French carrier.
Both airlines said this decision helped the optimization of their respective long-haul fleets. They could realize fleet efficiencies through harmonization and accelerated growth of similar planes.
In December, the Air France-KLM Group ordered ten more Airbus A350. Two months later, the French airline took delivery of the 350th A350 and called that airplane “Nice” in tribute to the city on the French Mediterranean coast. Before the pandemic, Air France planned to have a total of 38 long-haul A350 by 2025.
What’s next for KLM?
Meanwhile, KLM operated 13 Boeing 787-9 when it announced the swap with Air France. It also has an order for a few Boeing 787-10. At the end of June, Boeing was supposed to deliver KLM’s first 787-10, coinciding with some celebrations for the carrier’s 100th anniversary. But, Boeing missed the timing.
Last year, KLM planned to have a total of 21 Boeing 787s by the end of 2020. Currently, the oldest airline in the world has a fleet of 18 Dreamliners, 29 Boeing 777s, eight Boeing 747s, 52 Boeing 737s, and 13 Airbus A330s. Sadly, unlike other airlines, KLM will entirely end the ‘Queen of the Skies’ time by October of this year. After 49 years with the Boeing 747, KLM will say goodbye to the iconic airplane, due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Have you been onboard one of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners of Air France? How was it? Let us know in the comments.