The Air France-KLM Group has become Airbus’ latest conquest this week, as the planemaker has snagged another significant order from the European group. In total, the group ordered 100 A320neo family aircraft for KLM and the two Transavias, with options for 60 more. In a surprise move, the group has also signed up for four A350F for Air France, with options on a further four.
Airbus bags Air France-KLM for order hat trick
It’s been a good week for Airbus, as the planemaker has today snagged a third significant order in close succession. Following the Singapore Airlines order for the A350F earlier this week, and today’s news of a forthcoming order from Qantas, Airbus is shoring up its position closer to home too, with an order from Air France-KLM.
The European planemaker was pegged as the front runner for the group’s fleet renewal for some time, following the issuance of a tender earlier this year. The tender was to expand and renew the short-haul fleet of Dutch airline KLM, as well as to update the fleet of both French and Dutch branches of Transavia.
Today, the Air France-KLM group has announced a firm order for 100 A320neos alongside purchase rights for an additional 60 aircraft. The order covers Airbus A320neo and Airbus A321neo aircraft. The first deliveries are expected in the second half of 2023. The group stated that these aircraft will operate medium-haul routes in Europe, notably from Amsterdam-Schiphol – KLM’s global hub and Transavia Netherlands’ main base, and from Paris-Orly, Transavia France’s main base.
Today, #AirFranceKLM's Board of Directors made the decision to move forward on the Group’s goal to improve its economic and environmental performance with:
1⃣▶️A firm order for 100 @Airbus #A320neo family for @KLM, @Transavia & @TransaviaFR.
More details: https://t.co/Pi8BZCLxh6 pic.twitter.com/tF22IQ2M6h
— Air France-KLM Group (@AirFranceKLM) December 16, 2021
The A350F as well
It seems Airbus is keen to push its A350F to new customers, with the airline group also signing a letter of intent (LOI) for four of the freighter jets. Added to this is a purchase right for another four A350Fs, all headed for the Air France fleet.
Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International commented,
“We are honoured with Air France-KLM Group’s foresight, after an in-depth evaluation, to acquire the latest generation Airbus A320neo Family aircraft and A350F to modernise its European medium, short-haul, and cargo fleets. This milestone decision shows again that an aircraft’s value lies primarily in performance, reliability, fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions, all criteria in which the Airbus product line excels. We are very proud to be awarded this decision and to be part of the future of these iconic airlines, Air France, KLM and Transavia.”
The choice of Airbus will be a kick in the teeth for Boeing, as all are Boeing narrowbody customers at present. KLM flies 47 737NGs for its short-haul needs, which average almost 15 years of age across the fleet. Transavia has 39 737s, averaging 11.8 years of age, while Transavia France has 54 737-800s with an average age of 9.1 years. None of these airlines presently fly the A320 family of jets.
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What a week for Airbus
Airbus is having an excellent close to the year, with significant order news coming in left, right and center. Just yesterday, Singapore Airlines signed a commitment for seven A350F, the new freighter variant of Airbus’ popular widebody plane. SIA becomes the third customer for the new cargo plane, after ALC booked an order at the Dubai Air Show, and CMA CGM followed it up with an MoU for four.
Earlier today, news came in from Qantas that Airbus was the chosen supplier for its future narrowbody fleet. The Australian flag carrier intends to purchase 40 aircraft from both the A320neo and the A220 families and wants to hold options for a further 94. Although the deal is not expected to be formally announced until June next year, it’s still a major feather in the cap of the European planemaker.
Adding Air France-KLM to Airbus’ order hat trick today really is the icing on the cake. Although the planemaker is looking likely to miss its 2021 delivery target by some measure, things are beginning to look up as the year draws to a close.