Commitments for the Airbus A350F have been given a boost after the Air France-KLM Group today (April 12) firmed up a four-strong order for the type, with purchase rights for the same amount.
According to the European group, Air France will operate the freighters (pictured) on services out of the French flag carrier’s Paris/Charles de Gaulle hub – the capital gateway is home to a state-of-the-art cargo terminal which measures 150,694sq ft.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, said: “This order embodies Air France-KLM’s determination to strengthen its position on the buoyant cargo business. The Airbus A350 passenger version has been instrumental to the improvement of our economic and environmental performance, while proving to be a passenger’s favourite. We are thrilled to be among the launch customers of its freighter version, which will significantly increase our capacity and give us the means to continue to provide the best service to our customers around the world.”
Thanks to the move, it will enhance Air France’s cargo capacity; at present, it fields a pair of General Electric GE90-powered Boeing 777Fs, F-GUOB (c/n 32965) and F-GUOC (c/n 32966), complementing belly space utilised on the flag carrier’s plethora of widebody passenger airframes.
Initially, Air France-KLM placed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the A350F in December 2021 – this coincided with the group’s announcement regarding a firm order for 100 A320neo Family jets.
So far, Airbus has recorded 29 orders and commitments for the A350F – which was launched last year – from five customers as of today (April 12) including Singapore Airlines and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad.
Christian Scherer, Airbus chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International, added: “Airlines now have a choice, and we salute Air France joining those going for the A350F’s step change in efficiency and sustainability for the cargo operations of the future. We are gratified by the wave of early adopters who, like Air France, see the economics and environmental signature of the A350s as standing out versus alternatives, past, existing and future. Merci Air France.”
Meanwhile, Air Frances currently has 15 passenger-configured A350-900s in service, out of 38 on order in total.