Chalk up another 100 aircraft order for Airbus (plus 60 options). Air France–KLM announced a firm order to refresh the KLM, Transavia, and Transavia France fleets with A320neo family aircraft. Initial deliveries are expected from the back half of 2023.
This is a major step forward for KLM, Transavia and Air France, which will operate the best aircraft available for their network needs. – Benjamin Smith, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group
The order displaces Boeing‘s 737 family from the carriers. Combined the group operates approximately 140 737NG aircraft today.
That Boeing does not have an option to compete with the size and range of the A321neo – particularly with the LR/XLR models – no doubt impairs its ability to win some of these deals as airlines look to upgauge operations.
Unlike the similar announcement earlier in the day from Qantas, this deal only includes the A320neo family. The A220, while firmly a part of the Air France operation, did not see a boost at the company. At least not yet.
That KLM separated the fleet renewal tender for its Cityhopper group likely helped Embraer secure that order with the E2 family. Where airlines are looking for a single supplier across the full range of single-aisle size and range options Airbus holds a notable advantage thanks to its acquisition of the CSeries/A220 program from Bombardier.
Read More: Qantas picks Airbus for fleet refresh
Also of note, the company expects the order to help boost the size of the Transavia France fleet, assuming the options are executed.
Also as part of the order, Air France’s cargo arm signed a Letter of Intent to purchase four A350 freighters, along with four options. Singapore Airlines announced a similar order earlier this week. Both carriers are considered part of the “launch operators” group for the new type according to Airbus.
Air France operates a dozen A350s in passenger configuration and holds orders for 26 more. This freighter order can be converted to passenger A350s if a demand shift warrants such a move.
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