The new CEO of Air France, Benjamin Smith, has revealed that they will be culling their fleet of A380’s by up to 50%!
The radical news comes from the airline that has been struggling with striking pilots and falling profits (they lost 81% of revenue in the first quarter of 2018 due to delays!)
What is the problem with the Air France Airbus A380s?
Air France currently operates a fleet of 10 A380s (A fleet only 10% the size of Emirates, who have over 100 A380s) which have an average age of 7.8 years.
As such, their cabins are rather out of date. How out of date? Well, their business class seating doesn’t even have lie flat seats… a deathblow in this industry.
Their A380’s are currently configured with four classes, Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First.
The airline has always intended to update the seating and interior (Since 2014) but the project has been met with delay after delay. As you can imagine, the sheer floor space of the A380 makes the idea of refurbishing (Up to 400 seats) a daunting task. A refurbishment is now set for 2020 and will be fitted with the seats from Air France’s Boeing 787 fleet (Not from the actual fleet obviously, but from the same designer).
But not all of the A380’s have been lucky enough to get a facelift, 5 of the jets will be retired.
Why are they cutting 50% of their fleet?
This might sound extreme at first, but these five A380s are actually leased, not owned by Air France. Thus they will be able to let their leases expire (the first two expire at the end of this year) and not renew them.
The airline originally had another 2 A380’s on order but chose to change them to the newer A350-1000 when it clear that it would be the more flexible and superior aircraft. It has also been rumored that officials at the airline have always regretted investing in the A380, which is known in the industry as not fuel efficient (Unlike the A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner) and difficult to fill up to full capacity.
“The aircraft failed to turn a profit in Singapore and Beijing, where Air France had to revert back to the 777 on the routes. Currently, the airline serves Abidjan, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), San Francisco, Washington Dulles, Mexico City, and Shanghai with the A380.”
What do you think of Air France’s A380? Do you think they should refurbish them?