There are just three months to go until Air France receives its first A220. The airline, which has a firm order for 60 A220-300s from Airbus, is set to replace its aging fleet of A318 and A319s with the A220. The first six planes will be delivered from September, with Air France expecting all 60 jets delivered over five years.
Air France fleet modernization begins
Air France is on course to take delivery of its first A220-300 this September. The French carrier expects six A220s to be delivered from September this year, with a further 15 jets on course for delivery through 2022. As a result, the airline expects to have 21 operational A220-300s in its fleet by the end of 2022.
Air France has an order for 60 A220-300s placed in December 2019, which it plans to use on short and medium-haul routes. The new planes will phase out Air France’s existing fleet of A318 and A319s – the average age of each fleet is 16 years and 20 years respectively. The A220 will offer lower operating costs, improved range and lower emissions.
All 60 A220 jets are scheduled for delivery over the next five years. It has been earmarked for Air France’s short and medium-haul network, which is currently served by A318 and A319s. The A220 is likely to become a staple on busy European routes including Amsterdam, London, Rome and Brussels, amongst others. The jet is also more than capable of reaching destinations across the Middle East and Africa.
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Net zero emissions by 2050
Air France’s fleet modernization is in part motivated by its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Air France-KLM’s April 2020 bailout conditions involved environmental targets set by the French and Dutch governments.
This includes cutting domestic emissions in France by 50% by 2024 and halving the volume of CO2 per km by 2030. The A220-300 puts Air France in a good position to achieve its environmental targets. The airline has said the A220 emits around 20% less CO2 and can cut the cost per seat mile by around 10%.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM Group, said in July 2019,
“We are very pleased to work with Airbus to add the A220-300 to our fleet, an aircraft that demonstrates optimum environmental, operational, and economic efficiency. The selection of the Airbus A220-300 supports our goal of a more sustainable operation by significantly reducing CO2 and noise emissions.”
France opens up to tourism
After enforcing some of the strictest travel restrictions in Europe for most of 2021, France is set to open its borders to travelers with a new traffic-light system. The system, set to come into force today (June 9th), will utilize a Green, Amber and Red list of countries. The traffic-light system favors vaccinated travelers and also takes into account your reasons for entry.
A total of 38 countries are on the Green list, which will allow vaccinated travelers restriction-free entry into France. This includes 26 EU member states, Australia, Israel, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand. However, those who have not been vaccinated can still enter but need to provide a negative PCR test upon arrival.
For the Amber list, vaccinated travelers are still allowed in without a strong reason but must provide a negative PCR test result. However, unvaccinated travelers from the Amber list must have sufficient reason to travel, which rules out leisure trips. It is believed that four jabs are currently approved – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
Are you excited about Air France’s new A220-300s arriving this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.