AirFrance Orders A220-300, Plans A380 Retirement

Today, AirFrance officially announced their order for some Airbus A220-300 aircrafts. They have placed an order for 60 of them, with an additional 30 options and 30 acquisition rights. These planes will replace the aging A318 and A319 fleet that AirFrance uses on short and medium haul flights.

AirFrance has a combination of 51 A318s and A319, so the firm order for 30 is not going to replace everything just yet. I'm sure they will exercise their purchase rights, but AirFrance is likely being cautious in adding a new place to their fleet.

They plan to outfit them with 149 seats. This represents a significant capacity increase over the A318 and a small one over the A319, which hold 131 and 142 respectively. The A220-300s will begin flying in September 2021.

In their announcement as well, AirFrance also noted that their 10 Airbus A380s will not receive retrofits and will be retired. In the past, AirFrance had said they would retrofit 5 and retire 5, but as of today that's changed.

I had a chance to fly on one in February. While the seats are plush and quite comfortable, the plane feels ancient inside.

I'm sure AirFrance has realized the cost to bring them up to today's standards is just too much. AirFrance currently has no planes in their fleet or on order that can replace the capacity. I expect we will hear in the future about what will take their place - possibly the A350-1000 or 777x.

Renderings courtesy of AirFrance.


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