Air France-KLM Boosts Airbus’s Ample December Orderbook

 - December 16, 2021, 1:52 PM
KLM will fly its new A320neos on medium-haul routes within Europe. (Image: Airbus)

Airbus notched its third major sales contract in two days Thursday as Air France-KLM’s board of directors approved a firm order for 100 A320neo-family jets and purchase rights on 60 more along with a letter of intent covering the purchase of four A350 Freighters and purchase rights on another four. Scheduled for first delivery in the second half of 2023, the initial batch of passenger aircraft will serve to renew the narrowbody fleets of KLM and Transavia Netherlands and renew and expand that of Transavia France. The A350F order would come with full substitution rights to A350 passenger jets. Air France already flies 12 of 38 A350s on order.

Plans call for the neos to operate medium-haul routes in Europe, notably from Amsterdam-Schiphol—KLM's global hub and Transavia Netherlands' main base—and from Paris-Orly, Transavia France's main base.

“These evolutionary orders will position our group airlines on the path to improved performance while accelerating our decarbonization trajectory,” said Air France-KLM Group CEO Ben Smith. This is a major step forward for KLM, Transavia, and Air France, which will operate the best aircraft available for their network needs.”

For Airbus, the Air France-KLM order marks the third high-profile deal for its narrowbody family and the new A350 Freighter this week. On Thursday morning, Qantas confirmed it would renew its domestic fleet with a mix of Airbus A320neos and A220s under the terms of an agreement in principle to place orders and purchase rights for 134 of the aircraft for first delivery in 2024. A day earlier, Singapore Airlines said it would become the launch operator of the A350F under a contract covering seven of the cargo aircraft.

“We are honored with Air France-KLM Group’s foresight, after an in-depth evaluation, to acquire the latest generation Airbus A320neo-family aircraft and A350F to modernize its European medium, short-haul, and cargo fleets,” said Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer of the latest deal. “This milestone decision shows again that an aircraft’s value lies primarily in performance, reliability, fuel efficiency, and reduced CO2 emissions, all criteria in which the Airbus product line excels.”