Air France-KLM Orders 10 More Airbus A350s

The Air France–KLM Group has just announced that it will place a firm order for 10 A350-900s. This is in addition to the original order made in the summer of 2013. The total order from the Air France-KLM Group for this aircraft type is now at 38. Having received its first Airbus A350 this past September, this additional order must be a clear indication that the airline is satisfied with its performance thus far.

Air France A350
Air France took delivery of its first Airbus A350 in September. Photo: Airbus

The aircraft was selected to be an “essential pillar in the group’s long-haul fleet modernization strategy”.

“Rationalizing and modernizing the fleet is central to our effort to regain our leading position in Europe. It will strengthen our performance from both an economic and operational standpoint, and will help us deliver on our ambitious sustainability agenda. Offering a 25% reduction in fuel consumption compared to previous generation aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 is a jewel of European expertise and a passenger favorite. We are excited to see it become a core asset of the Air France fleet.” -Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM Group.

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Air France A350 at Toulouse
The Air France A350 at Toulouse. Photo: Airbus

Going straight to Air France

Although the order was firmed up by the Air France-KLM Group, the KLM side won’t have much to do with this announcement. In fact, the press release issued by Airbus indicates that the A350s are intended to be operated by Air France. This lines up with what happened earlier this year with KLM’s A350 orders going to Air France and some of Air France’s 787 orders going to KLM.

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Before the aircraft swap was confirmed, this is what a KLM Airbus A350 could have looked like. Photo: Airbus

Air France has two A350s in its possession so far. According to Business Traveller, it flies to the following destinations from its hub at Paris Charles de Gaulle:

  • Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Bamako, Mali: Operating daily from October 7, 2019, to December 8, 2019, and resuming again on February 10, 2020.
  • Toronto, Canada: A daily service that started on October 27, 2019.
  • Cairo, Egypt: Six times weekly service, every day except Thursday.
  • Seoul, South Korea: A daily service that just started on December 9, 2019.

Great news for Airbus

Designed to go head to head with the Boeing 777, this latest order is more affirmation for Airbus’ newest widebody model. In fact, at the end of November, there were 959 firm orders for A350-family aircraft from 51 customers all over the world.

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The A350 also appealed to Emirates as it inked a deal for 50 Airbus A350-900 XWBs at the Dubai Air Show. At list prices, the order is worth around US$16 billion. The Emirates version is set to feature a new premium economy class.

“[Air France-KLM CEO] Ben [Smith] is leading an impressive transformation at Air France-KLM and we feel honoured that our A350 aircraft have been selected as part of this endeavor. We sincerely thank Air France-KLM for the confidence placed in us.” -Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer

Conclusion

With the commitment of an additional 10 A350-900s, Air France must certainly be satisfied with the two it has been operating so far. The aircraft seems to be a hit among many passengers already.

With Airbus’ press release confirming that the intention is for this order to go to Air France, we’re a little sad that we still won’t get to see an A350 in KLM’s signature blue livery. But who knows, maybe things could change by the time this latest order gets delivered? We can only hope…

Have you flown on the Air France A350 yet? Or do you have plans to? Let us know in the comments!

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Trent

A great aircraft! The A350 and the 787 are some fine airplanes!

Bryce

Probably intended as some form of replacement for the A380s that AF is retiring…

ghiom

why not the -1000 then?

Thomas Foo

It is good to have competition so that the aircraft makers will keep innovating and the prices will remain competitive.

Just Passing Through

Obviously the 359 is a good choice to add to AF’s fleet but they should be replacing the 20 year old 332s and the 772s first instead of the fairly newish 380s. Be innovative and market the 380 flights better. Replace the interiors to start. I know it’s expensive but… Read more »