Air France-KLM Orders Up To 90 Airbus A350s

Air France-KLM Orders Up To 90 Airbus A350s

40

Air France-KLM has just placed a massive wide body aircraft order, intended as part of the carrier’s long haul fleet renewal plan.

Air France-KLM orders A350-900 & A350-1000

Air France-KLM is ordering up to 90 Airbus A350-900s and A350-1000s. This includes a firm order for 50 jets, plus options for 40 additional jets. For the firm order, the aircraft are expected to be delivered between 2026 and 2030.

This is being described by the company as an evolutionary order, providing Air France-KLM with flexibility to allocate aircraft within its portfolio of airlines, according to market dynamics and local regulatory conditions. So we don’t know how many jets are going to Air France, how many are going to KLM, and exactly what the breakdown is between -900s and -1000s.

This new order complements the existing Air France-KLM order for 41 Airbus A350-900s, of which 22 have already been delivered.

Here’s how Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith describes this aircraft order:

“This new order will be a major step in the renewal of the Group’s fleet. The Airbus A350 is a state-of-the-art aircraft with an excellent track record at Air France, where it has rapidly become a favorite among passengers and crew since its entry into service in 2019. It is the perfect fit for the network needs of the Group and boasts outstanding performances: it is a quieter, more fuel efficient and more cost-effective aircraft compared to previous generations. It will be instrumental in helping the Group reach our ambitious sustainability targets, including -30% CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer by 2030.”

Air France-KLM has ordered up to 90 A350s

These A350s will replace A330s & 777s

The stated plan for these new Airbus A350s is to use them to replace existing aircraft, including Airbus A330s and older Boeing 777s. When it comes to these aircraft:

  • Air France has a fleet of 15 Airbus A330s and Boeing 61 777s, which are an average of 21 years old and 17 years old, respectively
  • KLM has a fleet of 11 Airbus A330s and 31 Boeing 777s, which are an average of 15 years old and 14 years old, respectively

It goes without saying that these new generation aircraft represent a huge reduction in emissions, and Air France-KLM states that the A350 symbolizes a transition to a more sustainable air transportation industry. Fleet renewal is the airline group’s primary lever for immediately cutting emissions and noise.

A few thoughts on this order:

Air France-KLM has ordered up to 90 A350s

Bottom line

Air France-KLM has placed an order for up to 90 Airbus A350s. This includes a firm order for 50 jets, due to be delivered between 2026 and 2030, plus options for 40 additional aircraft. It remains to be seen how the aircraft will be allocated between the two airlines, and also what the breakdown will be between -900s and -1000s. This is an exciting aircraft order, as the A350 is a joy to fly.

What do you make of Air France-KLM ordering lots more A350s?

Conversations (40)
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  1. Brianair Guest

    I think KLM should order the A380 to satisfy the new Netherlands flight quotas. It would bring new life into the A380 program. I think it would do well on the former 747 routes.

  2. Kyalo Guest

    Was hoping for a mix between the 787, 777X and the A350. Why do they have to operate just 10 787s because it certainly seems like AF is moving towards an all Airbus Fleet. Why not transfer them to KLM maybe or get a little bit more.

  3. Justin Guest

    I enjoyed my flights to Paris last year on AF A350-900, in economy.

  4. Tim Dunn Diamond

    good to see another large order for the A350 and esp. for AF/KL. Depending on how many of the options are taken and how the orders are distributed between AF and KL, AF could become one of the largest operators of the AF.
    Add in the large order for B787-10s from AC and the exec whose name rhymes w/ Dot Derby clearly had no clue what he was talking about when he said that...

    good to see another large order for the A350 and esp. for AF/KL. Depending on how many of the options are taken and how the orders are distributed between AF and KL, AF could become one of the largest operators of the AF.
    Add in the large order for B787-10s from AC and the exec whose name rhymes w/ Dot Derby clearly had no clue what he was talking about when he said that some Chicago based airline needed to order 100 787s because delivery positions would not soon be available and that order would block other airlines from placing big orders for delivery in the 2nd half of this decade.
    Apparently AA and DL will have no problem getting widebody deliveries when they are ready to order.

  5. Travelman5 Guest

    It makes sense that, especially as AF has a big fleet of aging A330’s, they need to talk replacement. Their 777’s are significantly younger and could be around much longer. I say A350’s replace the A330’s, and maybe the time the 777’s are ready to go, the 777X will be available. After flying the A350 I am vastly under impressed compared to the 777! Also, the article was contradictory. It said orders for 50, options...

    It makes sense that, especially as AF has a big fleet of aging A330’s, they need to talk replacement. Their 777’s are significantly younger and could be around much longer. I say A350’s replace the A330’s, and maybe the time the 777’s are ready to go, the 777X will be available. After flying the A350 I am vastly under impressed compared to the 777! Also, the article was contradictory. It said orders for 50, options for 50. It also says a few times that they ordered 90! So, did they order 50 or 90?? “May order 40” is not an order. Also, they referred to it as a “group.” Group makes it sound like, maybe 5 airlines not just 2.

    1. ImmortalSynn Guest

      Doesn't seem like you read all that carefully.

      "Air France-KLM is ordering up to 90 Airbus A350-900s and A350-1000s. This includes a firm order for 50 jets, plus options for 40 additional jets."

      Article has been saying that since I first read it this afternoon, long before your comment appeared.

    2. Paul Guest

      I used to love the 777 when they were 9 abreast. Then they pulled the Boeing stunt and crushed us into 10 abreast. The A350 is far more pleasant.

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Meh, don't get too comfortable; pun intended.

      Airbus has the A350 certified for 10abreast (been that way for a while), but more recently, it's thinning out the walls, modifying the insulation, and actively promoting 10abreast (in the most recent iteration) to mainstream network carriers.

      None have thus far bitten, but as soon as one does.........

    4. Brianair Guest

      I think it would make sense for AF and KLM to operate a subfleet of A350s that are 10-abreast solely for use on the routes to overseas territories in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. Think CDG-FDF, CDG-PTP, CDG-RUN, AMS-CUR, and AMS-AUA. Similar to how AF has a subfleet of 777-300ERs with 468 seats for this purpose. They can use the 10-abreast A350-1000s to replace that subfleet of 777s.

  6. Englishder Guest

    To whomever can provide some relief. I am writing to establish if either Ben or another reader can assist with my issue.

    On June 2nd, 2023 I flew on AF 688 from CDG to ATL. I was in business class and was assigned seat 5D. For this trip I redeemed 70,000 Flying Blue miles. This flight was blocked for 9 hours 40 minutes and for the entire flight my business class seat was broken -...

    To whomever can provide some relief. I am writing to establish if either Ben or another reader can assist with my issue.

    On June 2nd, 2023 I flew on AF 688 from CDG to ATL. I was in business class and was assigned seat 5D. For this trip I redeemed 70,000 Flying Blue miles. This flight was blocked for 9 hours 40 minutes and for the entire flight my business class seat was broken - it was not stuck in the full upright position not the fully flat bed position but essentially right in between. The result was that it may it challenging to both eat AND sleep and I could not do either very well.

    The cabin crew, who were fantastic on this flight, would certainly have moved me to another seat but the entire business class section was fully booked on this flight so I could not be moved. The manager/pursar of the flight personally provided me with the Air France Customer Service department and said I should write to them to make this right.

    Long story short, Air France completely ignored my request for any reasonable compensation for not having an operating business class seat. Despite an official complaint and reference number the only compensation offer was for US$215, which is not even 1/2 the taxes that were paid for this trip. I view this as completely unacceptable and would like some advice/help of where to turn next.

    To add insult to injury upon my last communication with Air France I received this response: "Following up on your e-mail regarding your request for compensation, Air France stands by its original position. This file will now be closed. Any further correspondence will be filed and will remain unanswered."

    This must equal or exceed the worst customer service I have ever received. In any other business if one is delivered a faulty product it is either exchanged for something that works or the price paid is refunded. Air France seemingly does not agree with this principal.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    1. FlyerDon Guest

      I don’t know anything about getting a refund from AF but if the seat recline mechanism is broken, the seat must be locked in the full upright position and the recline mechanism deactivated, or the seat cannot be occupied. Pointing this out as a safety of flight issue might have gotten the attention of Air France.

  7. Adambrau New Member

    I believe the AF bailout by the French Government had some clauses requiring future purchases of aircraft to be Airbus. Even though all the money has been repaid. Regardless the A350's are amazing aircraft bravo!

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      No they didn't.

      The restrictions (on EUR4 Billion recapitalization for AF) were:
      (1) No dividends, non-mandatory coupon payments and share buybacks until 100% of the loans/recapitalization costs were repaid

      (2) Set limitations on remuneration for management officials, including a ban on bonus payments, until 75% of recapitalization is redeemed.

      (3) AF was required to cede 18 daily slots at Paris/Orly.

      (4) Both AF and its parent holding were prevented from acquiring a stake of...

      No they didn't.

      The restrictions (on EUR4 Billion recapitalization for AF) were:
      (1) No dividends, non-mandatory coupon payments and share buybacks until 100% of the loans/recapitalization costs were repaid

      (2) Set limitations on remuneration for management officials, including a ban on bonus payments, until 75% of recapitalization is redeemed.

      (3) AF was required to cede 18 daily slots at Paris/Orly.

      (4) Both AF and its parent holding were prevented from acquiring a stake of more than 10% in competitors or other operators in the same line of business, until 75% of recapitalization is redeemed.

      (5) AF would be required to issue a public report of its use of injected funds

      and lastly (6) a Trustee would be appointed, as of May 5, 2021, with full authority to inspect and report on any of the above, until an unspecified time when the E.C. unilaterally deemed the trustee no longer necessary.

      .....nothing about having to buy from Airbus.

    2. Gregg Guest

      It's not like they'd publish it! Clearly it was a side arrangement.

    3. Gregg Guest

      Obviously it is not written! It's a side deal/gentleman's agreement.

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      @ Gregg,

      Are you familiar with the concept of completely uncorroborated supposition? ...because that's what you just engaged it.

  8. InceptionCat Gold

    Had hoped for some A330-900s. I wouldn't be surprised if they ordered about 30 B787-9 to replace the A330s though.

  9. RaflW Guest

    Too bad the 339 isn't in the mix. I understand there's a cost to having too many different aircraft (spares, different engines, etc) but it could have a role in replacing 332s and 333s at the two airlines to modestly increase capacities.
    The days of 2 seat economy side pairs are waning as 787s and A350s become dominant.

    1. N1120A Guest

      The 339 would make zero sense in their fleet, especially with the 78X getting a range boost

    2. Etravelstheworld Guest

      Europe is never going to allow AF to purchase flagship aircraft from Boeing instead of Airbus. The political ramifications in France particularly would be too great.

      They are a lot more protectionist than US based airlines.

      Not saying they won’t order Boeing but it would be a token order not something of this magnitude.

    3. Pudu Guest

      Air France and KLM are both major operators of the 777-300ER and Lufthansa was the largest customer for the 747-8 and has ordered a significant number of 777-9s so I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Europe is never going to allow AF to purchase flagship aircraft from Boeing instead of Airbus.

      What on Earth are you talking about?

      What would "Europe" even do, should that decision have been made?

      For decades, a Boeing was the flagship (subsonic) aircraft in AF's fleet, as it currently is with the retirement of the A380.

  10. David Guest

    AF crews have a bad habit of locking the front lav on the A350. Since the J cabin has only two lavs to begin with, this leaves the entire J cabin with just one lav. Never will I fly AF J again on the 350.

    1. Jan Guest

      The new config on the 359 (with the doors) seem to have 3 lavs

  11. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    Boeing never had a chance at an order with them. This order is no surprise.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      That comment makes zero sense, seeing as Boeing is by far the primary manufacturer for both AF and KL's current widebody fleets.

      Boeing had every chance in the world.

  12. Mike O. Guest

    Assuming KL does get A350s, that only leaves Korean and EVA to not have any aircraft equipped with Rolls engines as JAL is a brand new customer with the A350 and I'm not sure when was the last time AF had an aircraft equipped with Rolls. I'm not exactly sure what the issue is,

    1. Vito Guest

      Revenge for the Battle of Agincourt, probably… LOL

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Air France's owned Concordes and leased L-1011s both had RR engines.

      There's no "issue," it's just that Air France has always worked closely with SNECMA/Safran, and they've routinely been a component partner with GE and a joint-venture partner in CFM.

    3. Mike O. Guest

      What about KLM, Korean and EVA?

    4. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Indeed, what about them?

      Like UA, KE had a long history with PW, and chose to primarily stick with that; until a time when PW was no longer available on new generation widebodies (as has been the case for the last 20yrs+), so they went with GE.

      KL and BR have had a similarly long history with GE, and unlike the aforementioned case with PW, GE is still available on modern widebodies, so they went...

      Indeed, what about them?

      Like UA, KE had a long history with PW, and chose to primarily stick with that; until a time when PW was no longer available on new generation widebodies (as has been the case for the last 20yrs+), so they went with GE.

      KL and BR have had a similarly long history with GE, and unlike the aforementioned case with PW, GE is still available on modern widebodies, so they went with that.

      No real difference than BA and QF having a long history with RR, and moving to a large extent to stay with them as a provider-- both even operating some of the few 767s to sport RR engines.

    5. Brianair Guest

      I notice that the flag carriers of most Commonwealth countries and other countries/territories with British influence tend to be the ones that have a significant number of aircraft with RR engines. Those include BA, VS, QF, NZ, CX, and SQ. BA, QF, and CX equipped the RB211 on all or most of their 747 fleet.

  13. Mark S Guest

    I recently flew on Air France's newest A350 with the new J seats. Was in 1A and the seat is exceptional. Aircraft was 3 weeks old at the time and the tablet that controls IFE was already broken off the mount on the side of storage compartment and didn't work. Plus for an overnight flight the bedding was poor in comparison to others. Fabulous plane to fly though, quiet and smooth. AF also got the...

    I recently flew on Air France's newest A350 with the new J seats. Was in 1A and the seat is exceptional. Aircraft was 3 weeks old at the time and the tablet that controls IFE was already broken off the mount on the side of storage compartment and didn't work. Plus for an overnight flight the bedding was poor in comparison to others. Fabulous plane to fly though, quiet and smooth. AF also got the onboard cameras although I wasn't able to watch as again my IFE didn't work. Hoping they improve their soft product as otherwise this aricraft is a joy to fly.

    1. Adambrau New Member

      I flew on an AF350 in May 2020 CDG-CAI-CDG and while not sure how old the aircraft was it had the 'new smell' - but part of the fabric on the sidewall kept falling off on the return CAI-CDG. Weird that such a new plane seemed poorly 'dressed up'!

  14. Sharon Guest

    Does Delta give Air France/KLM most favorable pricing for Tech Ops work?

    Delta's ability to service and overhaul engines and maintenance may have played into the order.

    1. Steven Guest

      Not at all. AF-KLM is in direct talk with Airbus to set up a JV to provide repairs and maintenance to the group and external customers

  15. Jan Guest

    *777x has exited the chat*
    More A350's is not a bad thing at all, however

    1. ImmortalSynn Guest

      That's jumping the gun a bit. Cathay, Qatar, Singapore, and Lufthansa are all major A350 operators who also have incoming 777Xs. Emirates is the largest 777X customer, but have A350s on the way as well.

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Add BA and Air India to that A350+777X combo as well.

    3. Azure Ray Guest

      Franch government would not easily allow AF-KL to consider Boeing products anymore after the submarine business with Australia was grabbed by US

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

ConcordeBoy Diamond

No they didn't. The restrictions (on EUR4 Billion recapitalization for AF) were: (1) No dividends, non-mandatory coupon payments and share buybacks until 100% of the loans/recapitalization costs were repaid (2) Set limitations on remuneration for management officials, including a ban on bonus payments, until 75% of recapitalization is redeemed. (3) AF was required to cede 18 daily slots at Paris/Orly. (4) Both AF and its parent holding were prevented from acquiring a stake of more than 10% in competitors or other operators in the same line of business, until 75% of recapitalization is redeemed. (5) AF would be required to issue a public report of its use of injected funds and lastly (6) a Trustee would be appointed, as of May 5, 2021, with full authority to inspect and report on any of the above, until an unspecified time when the E.C. unilaterally deemed the trustee no longer necessary. .....nothing about having to buy from Airbus.

4
ConcordeBoy Diamond

<b><i>Europe is never going to allow AF to purchase flagship aircraft from Boeing instead of Airbus. </i></b> What on Earth are you talking about? What would "Europe" even do, should that decision have been made? For decades, a Boeing was the flagship (subsonic) aircraft in AF's fleet, as it currently is with the retirement of the A380.

2
ConcordeBoy Diamond

That comment makes zero sense, seeing as Boeing is by far the primary manufacturer for both AF and KL's current widebody fleets. Boeing had every chance in the world.

2
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