Air France Ordering A220, Retiring A380

Air France has just announce some significant changes to their fleet, which follow a meeting today of the Air France-KLM Board of Directors. These decisions reflect the group’s focus on simplification.

The company explains that they hope to make the fleet more competitive by continuing to transform with more modern, high-performance aircraft with a reduced environmental footprint.

So, what’s happening?

Air France’s A220 order

Air France has announced a firm order for 60 Airbus A220-300s, with an additional 30 options and 30 acquisition rights . This order doesn’t come as a surprise — yesterday I wrote about how this announcement was expected this week.

The plan is for this plane to replace Air France’s fleet of A318s and A319s, of which Air France has a total of 51.
The aircraft will generate 20% less CO2 emissions than comparable aircraft in its class, and it’s twice as quiet. Air France notes that they’re reducing the per cost seat by about 10% compared to the planes that they’re replacing.

The plane has a capacity of 150 seats and a range of 2,300 nautical miles, so will give the airline an incredible amount of flexibility. The plane should be able to operate any route that the A318 and A319 could operate, and then some.

From a passenger comfort standpoint, the A220 is also incredibly comfortable, and Air France plans to offer wifi on the plane.

Air France also has a significant fleet of A320s and A321s, though as of now they haven’t announced plans for replacing those. I imagine eventually we’ll see an A320/A321neo order, or something.

As part of this fleet simplification, Air France has also announced plans to retire their 10 Airbus A380s by 2022 .

Previously the airline had planned on phasing out three of the planes in the next few years, but keeping the rest. Now they’ll phase them all out in the next few years. Of the seven additional planes being retired, five are owned by the company, and two are leased.

It’s noted that the current competitive environment limits the markets where the A380 can profitably be flown. The decision seems to come down to increasing aircraft maintenance costs plus costly cabin refurbishments just don’t make these planes economical anymore.

Air France-KLM is studying replacements for these aircraft, though no decisions have been made yet (not that there are many direct replacements for the A380).

Here’s what Air France-KLM Group CEO Ben Smith had to say regarding these updates:

“These decisions support the Air France-KLM Group’s fleet competitiveness strategy. They follow the recent orders for A350s and Boeing 787s that Air France and KLM have placed. 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. This aircraft will also provide our customers with additional comfort on the short- and medium-haul network and will provide our pilots with a connected cockpit with access to the latest navigation technology. This is a very important next step in Air France’s transformation, and this evolution in Air France’s fleet underlines the Group’s determination to attain European airline leadership.”

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Ooh I like the look of an Air France A220! It looks sleek. A shame about the a380s but it was to be expected tbh.


Yeah the 380 had it’s short time it had a good run!

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Will miss the big king


This news overall sounds great! Especially the A380 news. The sooner those ugly, inefficient whales are gone, the better. Good riddance, in my opinion.

Also interesting to see AF order A220s. I wonder if any orders will be transferred to KLM on the future.


Great move dumping the 380s.


Air France never invested in them, they still have the crappy old cabins. Can’t see many wanting to fly on theirs to begin with, the B777 is the better option when flying AF.


Great to see that more and more airlines are seeing that the A380 was one of the biggest financial flops in aviation history 🤷🏼‍♂️

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This scares me… all of these double decker heavies are retiring from big airlines and I’m scared they’ll be replaced.

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Hardly. Some airlines buy things with very little though. Air France’s route network does not warrant an A380, airlines like Emirates, BA etc can have a lot of success with the aircraft as they essentially funnel everyone into their home. Who goes to France for a connecting flight? Only AF passengers mostly, with BA you can get any airline really from Heathrow and go anywhere in the world. They usually pack those things up and it’s precisely why they are still interested in buying them, as for Emirates their route network means that pretty much all flights begin and end in Dubai, the A380 is perfect for those flights to Dubai where they will then get on smaller aircraft to Asia and wherever.

The aircraft wasn’t a flop, it broke even, revolutionised air travel and is one of the best planes to fly for comfort according to pretty much every aviation journalist. Besides non av geeks know what an A380 is, doubt they can identify what the jumbo is anymore, those days are gone for the new generation with those pictures of showers and bars on planes.

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Lol…maybe we can sink the square shaped box cruise ships too that rise up 30 decks or some bizzare amount
and make sleek passenger ships…sorry I know its off the topic of flight …but the A380 is the same design thought movable hotels 🙂

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Really nice to see some. A220s. Of course none for KLM as they always get AF’s leftovers :(

And… that’s how we will no longer have A380’s in ATL anymore :(


KLM have the Boeing short haul fleet though so I guess it makes more sense this way, plus they have the Embraer jets already. Funnily enough for the long haul jets, it’s the opposite. KLM are getting the A350 and AF the B787. Personally I think each airline should get whatever they like rather than centralising everything, that’s the way IAG is starting to go also sadly, allocating aircraft to certain airlines, Aer Lingus get the A321LR but no A350’s.

Actually, that’s the other way around. It has recently been confirmed that AIr France will get their ordered A350s and the ones that KLM ordered. KLM will be getting AF’s 787s. That’s what I mean with how KLM always gets the leftovers.

That’s what I said, I see that they have the -10 though so all in all their fleet is the most pointless fleet ever. Mix match if aircraft, no efficiency in it at all. And they wonder why they don’t make much profit, they could easily cut costs. One or the other should be cancelled surely,

Finally, they are being retired! Yes, the A380 is an incredible aircraft and is incredibly huge. However, the A380 program was extremely unprofitable to Airbus and the plane needed a longer runway built for it which limited where it could fly into. With Emirates canceling 35 of their 55 orders, this ultimately brought an end to the program.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if Air France orders something along the lines of the 777-9X to replace their A380s

Looks like Air France is planning to buy A330Neo or A350 to replace their A380.

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It’s sad to see the A380’s go when they have only been around just over a decade, RIP A380.