Air France-KLM Orders Up To 160 Airbus A320neos

Air France-KLM Orders Up To 160 Airbus A320neos

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Airbus sure is ending the year on a high note, as Boeing loses yet another order. Earlier it was announced that Qantas placed a huge Airbus order to replace Boeing 737s, and now Air France-KLM is doing the same to refresh the fleets of KLM and Transavia.

KLM & Transavia replacing 737s with A320neos

Air France-KLM is placing a firm order for 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, with the purchase rights for 60 additional aircraft:

  • The order covers both the A320neo and A321neo
  • The first deliveries are expected in the second half of 2023
  • These planes will be used to renew the fleets of KLM and Transavia Netherlands, and to renew and expand the fleet of Transavia France; in all cases these planes are replacing Boeing 737s currently in service
  • For context, KLM currently operates a fleet of 46 Boeing 737s, while Transavia operates a fleet of 89 Boeing 737s
KLM will replace 737s with A320neo family aircraft

A320neo family aircraft have incredible economics. Compared to previous generation aircraft, they offer a unit cost reduction of over 10%, as well as a 15% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

None of these planes are going to Air France, as Air France ordered 60 Airbus A220-300s back in 2019, with the first plane having recently joined the carrier’s fleet. The A220s will be used to refresh Air France’s short haul fleet, which currently consists of A318s, A319s, A320s, and A321s.

Air France is getting 60 A220-300s

Air France-KLM made the right choice

Boeing has in the past 24 hours lost two loyal Boeing 737 customers to Airbus, as both Air France-KLM and Qantas are swapping plane types. And as much as I’d love to be an American patriot and say they made the wrong choice, well… they didn’t.

The Airbus A320neo is simply a superior plane to the Boeing 737 MAX. It’s better from a passenger experience standpoint, and the A320 family is also more versatile, as it extends all the way up to the A321XLR. This gives the airline the ability to grow the fleet over time while maintaining commonality.

Transavia will replace 737s with A320neo family aircraft

Bottom line

Air France-KLM has placed an order for up to 160 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, which will be used to modernize the fleets of KLM and Transavia. Both airlines were previously loyal Boeing customers for narrow body jets, so this is a major loss for Boeing.

I can’t help but wonder if Boeing will ever be competitive with Airbus again when it comes to narrow body jets.

What do you make of this order from Air France-KLM?

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  1. Brianair Guest

    Sure, I would have leaned towards Qantas to turn towards Airbus for their 737NG replacement as opposed to the MAX, given that they already expressed strong interest in the A321XLR. But KLM? Wow, that one shocked me completely! It didn't feel like that long ago when Ben Smith was touting KLM's plan to retire their remaining A330s and become an all-Boeing airline by the middle of the decade. Considering that both KLM and Transavia appeared...

    Sure, I would have leaned towards Qantas to turn towards Airbus for their 737NG replacement as opposed to the MAX, given that they already expressed strong interest in the A321XLR. But KLM? Wow, that one shocked me completely! It didn't feel like that long ago when Ben Smith was touting KLM's plan to retire their remaining A330s and become an all-Boeing airline by the middle of the decade. Considering that both KLM and Transavia appeared to have this almost unbreakable loyalty to Boeing in general, this just feels out of place. Furthermore, I too found it odd that Air France isn't planning to be involved in this order at all (aside from the fact that they will be getting 4 A350Fs). I would think that they were a significant part of the motivation for KLM and Transavia to move to Airbus, since it appears that this is an order from the whole Air France-KLM Group. Seems like a more logical plan to split it between all three airlines instead of two, especially when the airline you "left out" has a significant amount of aging A320s and A321s for which these neos would be the obvious replacement.

    Consider that about a day before these two loyal customers made the decision to move away, SQ decided to order the A350F to replace their 747Fs, when they could have just ordered the 777F (they have a lot of both A350 and 777). This week is going to sting for Boeing.

  2. Steve A Guest

    Yes, Boeing's focus since it shifted from Seatle to Chicago has been on nearly $60 billion of stock repurchasing to please Wall Street and things like ROIC.
    These metrics mean absolutely zilch if you have starved your commercial arm of development funds in favour of buying back shares in yourself.
    Imagine if Boeing's focus had been on building great airplanes like in the past. The 737max debacle would never have happened, but instead...

    Yes, Boeing's focus since it shifted from Seatle to Chicago has been on nearly $60 billion of stock repurchasing to please Wall Street and things like ROIC.
    These metrics mean absolutely zilch if you have starved your commercial arm of development funds in favour of buying back shares in yourself.
    Imagine if Boeing's focus had been on building great airplanes like in the past. The 737max debacle would never have happened, but instead Boeing would have no trouble securing new aircraft orders with a brand new composite single aisle family range of planes to choose from, that would even surpass Airbus's offerings
    The NMA program would be about to deliver it's first aircraft.
    Boeing's purchase of the major share of Embraer would be in place and E175 E2 would meet all US airline pilot requirements and be being produced at 10 or 12 per month in Charleston.
    The B787 problems would not have probably arisen because aircraft were being produced by people who cared about producing top notch aircraft, not Wall Street wolves ready to strip out every last dollar from the company.
    And of course, the B777X would be in service now, as would be its freighter version.
    Corporate greed, and management who do the wrong thing for the long-term benefit of the company, in order to post a big fat bonus for themselves, unfortunately is a feature of Wall Street companies.
    And even some airlines have been run poorly. Remember the CEO (I won't mention his name because I never believed in how he ran that airline), stated that it was inconceivable to imagine that his airline could ever lose money again. Wow!
    So, US companies should be run with the long-term benefit of shareholders in mind, not management bonuses, not Wall Street favour, not pushing up stock values through repurchasing stock when reinvestment in the business itself is what is required.
    But unfortunately Wall Street never learns. It appears to on the face of it after a shock, but always quickly reverts back to its raw greed. This appears to be one of the basic laws of Economics. Maybe it is taught at the Ivy League Schools?
    Boeing's demise is directly related to corporate greed. It needs to lose its arrogant management, some of whom still think that the Max crashes were pilot error.
    They will never get back to being market leaders again until they go back to producing the best aircraft, and shift their headquarters back to Washington State, so company management actually understand their business and what is required.

    1. EBWaa Guest

      Great post, though I think reports of Boeing’s demise are premature.

      (I especially enjoyed the allusion to the airline CEO who must not be named)

  3. azamaraal Guest

    Just returned from trip to Mexico on WS 737 Max-9.

    Lovely flight and I still prefer the 737. Also, I much prefer the 787 over the A350.

    Just to throw in a vote in Boeing's direction. So much Airbus hype. Don't forget how many A3XX got plunked before they fixed their flight computer.

  4. azamaraal Guest

    As a Canadian I bemoan the loss of the C-Series to Airbus because our idiot PM refused a miniature (compared to his other waste) loan guarantee to see the airplane certified.

    The KLM/AF order is basically 60 A220-300 (Bombardier C Series) and 100 A320. I'm positive the C Series was the deal maker offering flexibility that 737 and A320 don't have at the same level of efficiency.

    If Boeing had not attacked and tried to...

    As a Canadian I bemoan the loss of the C-Series to Airbus because our idiot PM refused a miniature (compared to his other waste) loan guarantee to see the airplane certified.

    The KLM/AF order is basically 60 A220-300 (Bombardier C Series) and 100 A320. I'm positive the C Series was the deal maker offering flexibility that 737 and A320 don't have at the same level of efficiency.

    If Boeing had not attacked and tried to eliminate the competition of the C-Series they would probably still be the leader.

  5. tipsyinmadras Member

    Worth noting than in choosing the A320/1neo AF/KLM can have more engine commonality with both the A220 and Embraer E2.

  6. dander Guest

    Boeing made a mistake by not going for a clean sheet when they did the max. Companies always try to squeeze a little bit more out of a mature design. They will bounce back, They need to stop dividends and buybacks and invest in new products

  7. Austin787 Guest

    The 737 had its time, but it is past its prime. Even before the MAX grounding, the A320NEO was the more popular plane. Time to work on an all new narrowbody.

  8. Brad Guest

    I am a former F/A worked the 747, 727. Back when " If it's not Boeing, I'm not going. "
    No more. I go out of my way to book flights on routes with A320/A321. Its just a more comfortable aircraft.
    Boeing keep stretching a nearly 60 year old airframe.
    No Clean Sheets on the horizon. Sad

  9. view Guest

    Boeing will be back. These things go in cycles, sometimes you need to kick in the butt to improve and innovate. Boeing needs a proper 737 replacement, brand new built from scratch. 737 MAX doesn´t cut it, the sooner they realize the better.

    1. MM Guest

      Yup, spot on. Time for Boeing to accept that the Max wasn't the right trigger for Boeing to pull. Let's all blame AA for pressuring Boeing, and blame Boeing for losing sight of how to be a great ethical engineering company.

  10. Criced Guest

    A320neo is a fantastic plane to fly in as a passenger!

  11. Hank Tarn Guest

    This really has angered me lots. KLM are Boeing short haul 737 users end of. Hope US airports heavily put up fees on them, and American customers who care about jobs here boycott these European aircraft only carriers.

    1. Cedric Guest

      That thinking gets you nowhere. Airbus just has a better product. Boeing will get back up in a few years...

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Hank Tarn -- First of all, KLM and Air France both operate wide body Boeing jets. Second of all, shouldn't this anger be directed towards US airlines buying Airbus planes, like... Delta?

    3. RaflW Guest

      It's only final assembly, but Airbus does build planes in the US. And the A220 is genuinely a North American aircraft.

    4. Icarus Guest

      Stupid comment. Airbus is a European company based in the Netherlands and France. Logical to buy European and you realise Airbus manufacturers in the US too and employs Americans. Is there some law mandating European airlines have to purchase American products.

    5. Vincent Guest

      LOL - US airports putting up fees because a non-US airline didnt buy US aircraft that are (prob) not even being used to fly to the US? Classic US arrogance haha

    6. XPL Guest

      Hank, what should anger you is Boeing's hubris. I grew up in what was then a Boeing town as the son of a lifelong Boeing worker, and my father would have been ashamed of how far that once-proud company has sunk.

    7. EBWaa Guest

      Should airports in France, the UK, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands increase landing fees for US airlines with predominantly Boeing fleets?

    8. tipsyinmadras Member

      A huge amount of content on every aircraft, regardless of whether Airbus or Boeing is from US manufacturers. And, others have pointed out, Airbus builds plenty of aircraft in the US at their Mobile, Alabama facility

  12. Konstantinos Gilo Guest

    Two black eyes for Boeing as two of their most largest clients choose Airbus to renew their short-medium haul fleet.

  13. david Guest

    Completely agree with you, Lucky. The 737 is an old jet. Boeing needs to start fresh. The Airbus narrowbodies are superior in every way to the 737. I do prefer to fly A320 family aircraft whenever possible.

    1. Brianair Guest

      What is surprising is that Transavia will be migrating from the 737 to the A320neo family. There's going to be a time period in between when they are operating both plane types, which tends to be operatonally inefficient for a LCC. When is the last time a LCC just decided to switch manufacturers like that (and did it successfully)?

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.

Cedric Guest

That thinking gets you nowhere. Airbus just has a better product. Boeing will get back up in a few years...

3
david Guest

Completely agree with you, Lucky. The 737 is an old jet. Boeing needs to start fresh. The Airbus narrowbodies are superior in every way to the 737. I do prefer to fly A320 family aircraft whenever possible.

3
Vincent Guest

LOL - US airports putting up fees because a non-US airline didnt buy US aircraft that are (prob) not even being used to fly to the US? Classic US arrogance haha

2
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