Air France has taken delivery of its first Airbus A220-300 as it starts the process of replacing its A318 and A319 fleet with the next generation narrowbody.
F-HZUA (c/n 55134) touched down yesterday (September 28) at Paris/Charles de Gaulle after a near eight-hour flight from its production facility in Montreal/Mirabel, Canada.
Describing it as the “latest jewel” in the fleet on its short and medium-haul network, the flag carrier intends to gradually replace its 18-strong contingent of A318s, 30 A319s and “several” A320s with the 60 A220s it has on order.
The order – which was placed in 2019 – includes an additional mix of 30 options and 30 purchase rights.
From October 31, the twinjet will fly to Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan/Linate and Venice from Air France’s hub at Charles de Gaulle.
During the rest of the winter season into next year, the network will be gradually expanded to include destinations such as Rome, Lisbon and Copenhagen.
The flag carrier is leaning on fleet renewals to help it reduce CO2 emissions in order to achieve environmental targets. The A220 is a “major lever” in this process and offers a 20% reduction compared to previous generation examples.
The Canadian-built jet also offers a 10% cost reduction per seat compared with the A318 and A319. Its noise footprint is also 34% lower.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM, commented: “This new aircraft with an unparalleled energy performance represents a major asset for Air France. To date, fleet renewal is the main source of reducing CO2 emissions, and this is why we are continuing to invest in latest-generation aircraft.”
Air France’s maiden example has 148 seats configured in a two-class configuration. Laid out in a three-two setup, according to the airline, 80% of customers will have access to either a window or aisle seat.
The A220s will be delivered at a sustained pace and by the end of this year, a total of six will be in the fleet. In 2022, 15 examples are expected to be handed over.
The type will ultimately make up close to 60% of the Air France medium-haul fleet, alongside the Airbus A320 and A321.