Category Archives: Air France

Air France updates its fleet, order for 60 new Airbus A220-300s, will phase out the A380s

The Air France-KLM Board of Directors has approved several strategic decisions concerning the development of the Air France fleet, following a meeting on July 30, 2019.

These decisions reflect the Group’s focus on simplification. Making the fleet more competitive, by continuing its transformation with more modern, high-performance aircrafts with a significantly reduced environmental footprint is key to achieving leading industry margins.

  • Firm order for 60 A220-300s, with 30 options and 30 acquisition rights, which will gradually replace Air France’s A318 and A319 fleet
  • Retirement of the 10 A380s from the Air France fleet by 2022, and study of the replacement of A380s by new generation aircraft

Renewal of Air France’s short- and medium-haul fleet

Air France has committed to a firm order of the 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with an additional 30 purchase options and 30 acquisition rights. The first aircraft should be delivered in September 2021. They will join Air France’s short- and medium-haul fleet.

This aircraft will enable Air France to reduce its environmental footprint. The A220-300 generates 20% less CO2 emissions than the comparable aircraft in its class and is twice as quiet.

With a capacity of 150 seats and an operating range of 2,300 nautical miles, the A220-300 is perfectly suited to replace the A318 and A319 on the Air France short- and medium-haul network. This aircraft will allow the company to increase its competitiveness by reducing its cost per seat by more than 10% compared to the aircraft it will replace.

Finally, its entry into the Air France fleet will contribute to the continuous improvement of the customer experience, thanks to seats offering more space, larger cabin baggage storage compartments, wide aisles and WiFi on board.

Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss.

Retirement of the A380s from the Air France fleet by 2022

The Air France-KLM Board of Directors today approved the retirement in principle of the remaining seven A380s from the Air France fleet by 2022, the phase out of three additional aircraft having been decided previously. Five of these aircraft are owned by the company, while two are leased.

The current competitive environment limits the markets in which the A380 can profitably operate. With four engines, the A380 consumes 20-25% more fuel per seat than new generation long-haul aircraft, and therefore emits more CO2. Increasing aircraft maintenance costs, as well as necessary cabin refurbishments to meet customer expectations reduce the economic attractiveness of Air France’s A380s even further. Keeping this aircraft in the fleet would involve significant costs, while the aircraft program was suspended by Airbus earlier in 2019.

The Air France KLM Group is studying possible replacement options for these aircrafts with a new generation aircraft currently on the market.

“These decisions support the Air France-KLM Group’s fleet competitiveness strategy,” said Benjamin Smith, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group. “They follow the recent orders for A350s and Boeing 787s that Air France and KLM have placed. We are very pleased to work with Airbus to add the A220-300 to our fleet, an aircraft that demonstrates optimum environmental, operational, and economic efficiency. The selection of the Airbus A220-300 supports our goal of a more sustainable operation, by significantly reducing CO2 and noise emissions. This aircraft will also provide our customers with additional comfort on the short- and medium-haul network and will provide our pilots with a connected cockpit with access to the latest navigation technology. This is a very important next step in Air France’s transformation, and this evolution in Air France’s fleet underlines the Group’s determination to attain European airline leadership.”

Air France-KLM operates a fleet of 541 aircrafts between its three main brands, Air France, KLM, and Transavia, to 318 destinations globally.  In 2018, AFKL flew over 100 million customers.

Airbus also released this statement:

The Air France–KLM Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 60 A220-300 aircraft to modernise its fleet. By acquiring the industry’s most efficient and technologically advanced single-aisle aircraft, the airline will benefit from a significant reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions. These A220s are intended to be operated by Air France.

“The acquisition of these brand new A220-300s aligns perfectly with Air France–KLM’s overall fleet modernisation and harmonisation strategy,” said Benjamin Smith, CEO of the Air France-KLM Group. “This aircraft demonstrates optimum operational and economic efficiency and enables us to further improve our environment footprint thanks to the A220’s low fuel consumption and reduced emissions. It is also perfectly adapted to our domestic and European network and will enable Air France to operate more efficiently on its short and medium-haul routes.”

“It is an honour for Airbus that Air France, a long-standing valued customer, has endorsed our latest family member, the A220, for its fleet renewal plans,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to supporting Air France with our A220 by bringing the latest technologies, efficiency levels, and environment benefits. We are delighted to embark on this partnership and we are looking forward to seeing the A220 flying in the Air France colours.”

The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and wide-body passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least 20% lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft.

Air France currently operates a fleet of 144 Airbus aircraft.

With an order book of 551 aircraft as of end of June 2019, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100-to-150-seat aircraft market, estimated to represent 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

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Air France and Paris Aeroport launch cooperation to ensure baggage tracking using RFID technology

Air France has made this announcement:

As from 2020, Air France will ensure baggage tracking at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport using tags equipped with RFID chips in cooperation with Paris Aéroport. Air France is one of the very first airlines in the world to have decided, in collaboration with Paris Aéroport, to implement the use of RFID technology. For Air France in 2020, this represents about 8 million pieces of baggage per year which will be tagged in this way.

This technology will gradually be deployed at Air France’s other airports, as well as at all Paris-Charles de Gaulle terminals, particularly Terminal 1.

For Air France and Paris Aéroport, the challenges are twofold:
– Respond to customers’ need for information about their baggage;
– Improve baggage identification and tracking (with gains in operational performance) and reduce associated operating costs.

THE AIR TRANSPORT INDUSTRY IS PREPARING TO CARRY MORE THAN 7.8 BILLION  PASSENGERS PER YEAR

Over the next few years, the estimated growth in air traffic should lead to a doubling of the number of bags transported annually, which currently stands at 4.6 billion1.
Within the framework of its resolution 753, IATA (International Air Transport Association) stipulates in particular that baggage must be traced throughout its journey (at check-in, boarding, transfer and arrival). It also recommends the global deployment of baggage tracking using radio frequency identification (RFID) chips.
Airlines have therefore committed to changing their baggage tags to RFID tags over the next few years.

Alain-Hervé Bernard, Chief Operating Officer at Air France, said: “Air France and Paris Aéroport have a common challenge in terms of customer satisfaction and the smooth running of our operations. With more than 50 million customers carried on board our flights each year, RFID technology provides us with an innovative solution to improve the tracking and identification of baggage, guarantee its transit under optimal safety and security conditions, reduce our costs and improve our operational performance by reducing the time it takes to find missing items.

Marc Houalla, Managing Director of Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, commented: “The use of RFID technology improves the processing of checked baggage by reducing handling and transfer times, optimizing capacity and significantly facilitating baggage tracking. This technology is a must in our aim to be one of the best airports in the world for baggage handling.

1 Source: SITA 2018 Bagage Report

Air France launches live TV on board, in partnership with France 24

Air France made this announcement:

Since July 19, 2019, the company’s customers have had complimentary access to TV channel France 24’s full live content, on board their flight. This offer is available on all Air France medium-haul flights equipped with Air France CONNECT.

On medium-haul flights equipped with the Air France CONNECT connectivity service, the company’s customers have access to an entertainment programme portal, in addition to their Wi-Fi access. They can thus enjoy at no extra charge, a wide selection of films, series and documentaries on their personal smartphone, tablet or PC. This portal also gives them access to real-time news bulletins throughout their flight, thanks to France 24 channel’s live-streaming TV, in French and English.

On its long-haul flights, Air France also offers customers a selection of France 24 documentaries and programmes as part of its in-flight entertainment offer accessible from their individual screens. The France 24 channel is also broadcast live in most Air France-KLM airport lounges, in French, English and Arabic.

Air France CONNECT, Air France’s connectivity service

The Air France CONNECT connectivity service is available on all Wi-Fi-equipped Air France medium and long-haul aircraft. Customers have access to 3 Wi-Fi passes – a free “Message” pass, ideal for using instant messaging apps, the “Surf” pass for surfing the internet and consulting and sending emails, and the “Stream” pass for enjoying a faster connection.

On medium-haul flights, Air France CONNECT also offers customers access to a diverse and continually evolving entertainment programme portal. This offer includes films, series, documentaries and now also live TV, and more recently music and Audible audiobooks.

With the aim of having a fully-connected fleet by end-2020, Wi-Fi continues to be rolled out on board Air France’s medium and long-haul aircraft. To date, 50 aircraft have been equipped (35 long-haul aircraft and 15 short and medium-haul aircraft) and at the end of this year, half of the medium and long-haul fleets will be connected.

Air France opens its revamped Washington Dulles Airport Lounge

Air France has revealed its completely revamped and more spacious lounge located in the heart of Washington-Dulles International Airport (USA), near the boarding gates.

The new lounge welcomes Air France La Première, Business customers and Flying Blue Elite Plus members in a completely revamped, more elegant and modern setting. Spanning a total surface area of 6619 sq. feet, on two levels, the lounge can accommodate up to 155 customers.

Subtly combining comfort, creativity and French-style elegance, the lounge reflects the Air France brand identity. Through its choice of materials, furnishings and range of bright colors, the Air France lounge has a sleek and elegant feel.

The New Night Service – Dine in the Lounge and Sleep on Board

At the heart of the lounge, a new dining area will be home to the airline’s Night Service, which is offered to Business customers on the daily 21:10 AF027 flight from Washington to Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

The Night Service anticipates customers’ needs to enjoy a good night’s sleep on night flights. They can enjoy the same gourmet French meal in the airport lounge as the one served on board. A full meal comprising a starter, hot dish, cheese, dessert and a wine as well as a Champagne list is served at their table.

During the flight, customers can enjoy a good night’s sleep in the comfort of the Business class cabin. A quiet, private cabin guarantees a peaceful night’s sleep in a seat that transforms into a lie-flat bed. When they awake, as the French coast looms on the horizon, breakfast is served before landing at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

        

The Iconic Bar Area in the Lounge

Dressed in a lacquered metal structure and completely open to the lounge, the bar offers a selection of wines, Champagnes and spirits, served by a bartender. For the first time in an Air France lounge, customers can also enjoy cold draught beers.

 

A New Dining Experience

As part of its ongoing effort to offer its customers the best possible service, the company has also revamped its dining area to highlight French gourmet cuisine.

Designed in the spirit of a Parisian brasserie, new furnishings and circular benches have been custom designed to provide conviviality and comfort. Customers can enjoy a self-service buffet with cold, sweet and savoury selections.

Starting in September, Air France Business customers will be able to enjoy three new Signature dishes created by Daniel Rose, an American Michelin-star chef with a love for French cuisine.

A Cozy Environment

The second level offers customers a genuinely cozy environment. In a relaxing light-filled atmosphere, where light screens perfectly mimic sunlight and the colour of the sky, customers can relax comfortably in chaises lounges or other seating of their choice. A snacking area completes this moment of well-being.

A Custom-Designed Experience

The new Air France lounge also includes dedicated areas for a tailor-made experience –

 

–               A VIP area with a cozy and private atmosphere, dedicated to customers travelling in the La Première cabin;

–               An area reserved for Ultimate customers.

 

Not Forgetting the Essentials

–               A lobby equipped with new eligibility kiosks, for smoother access;

–               A co-working space;

–               Free Wi-Fi access and electrical/USB outlets close to each seat;

–               A lounge area reflecting the architectural design of the latest Air France lounges – wide bench seating, brightly-colored individual seats that give the lounge its own distinctive identity;

–               A press kiosk offering French and international newspapers and magazines, in addition to the digital offer available on the “Air France Play” app;

–               Freshen up and relax thanks to an invigorating shower.

 

Flight schedule

From Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Air France operates two daily flights to Washington by Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-200.

 

Flight times operated (in local time) –

AF054: leaves Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 13:15, arrives in Washington at 15:40;
AF055: leaves Washington at 18:05, arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 7:35 the next day.
Daily flight on departure from Paris by Airbus A380.

AF026: leaves Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 16:30, arrives in Washington à 19:05;
AF027: leaves Washington at 21:10, arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 10:45 the next day.
Daily flight on departure from Paris by Boeing 777-200. 

 

From Amsterdam-Schiphol, KLM operates a daily flight to Washington.

Flight times operated (in local time) –

KL651: leaves Amsterdam-Schiphol at 13:20, arrives in Washington at 15:40;
KL652: leaves Washington at 17:45, arrives at Amsterdam-Schiphol at 7:20 the next day.
Daily flight on departure from Amsterdam.

All photos by Air France.

Air France launches biometric trials at New JFK and Houston

Air France-KLM announced that it is expanding its use of biometrics with the commencement of trials at John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston for its Air France flights. Air France-KLM, as part of its ongoing commitment to using digital innovation to elevate the customer experience, aims to implement one-step biometric boarding using facial recognition at all airports it operates out of in the United States. The trials are being conducted in close collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and will serve the more than 2,200 daily passengers that fly with Air France from JFK and IAH.

With these trials, Air France-KLM examines the technology’s speed, reliability, and user-friendliness. It also examines the boarding process and the passenger experience. The ultimate goal is to make the boarding process as quick and easy as possible for passengers.

Currently, Air France and KLM passengers departing from Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas Fort-Worth, Detroit, Dulles, San Francisco, and Seattle are able to utilize biometric boarding. Other gateways are in various stages of testing.  Biometric boarding is available to passengers traveling in any class of service.

Air France-KLM recently expanded service in the United States with the launch of direct flights to Paris aboard Air France from Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW), and direct flights to Amsterdam aboard KLM from Las Vegas (LAS) and Boston (BOS.)

Video:

Air France opposed to the eco-tax proposal announced by the government

Air France has issued this statement:

Air France strongly disapproves the announcement of a proposal to introduce an eco-tax varying from 1.5 to 18 euros on tickets for all flights departing from France as from 2020.

This new tax would significantly penalize Air France’s competitiveness, at a time where the company needs to strengthen its investment capacity to more rapidly reduce its environmental footprint, notably as part of its fleet renewal policy.

France is one of the countries with the most heavily-taxed air transport industry in Europe. These taxes are in addition to the particularly high burden of employer payroll taxation on airlines, whereas Air France’s activity contributes 1.1% of French national GDP, generates more than 350,000 jobs and Air France is the leading private sector employer in the Paris region.

This tax would represent an additional cost of over 60 million euros per year for the Air France group, i.e. the equivalent of the measures adopted during the French Air Transport Conference, aimed at strengthening the French flagship carrier’s competitiveness.

This measure would be extremely penalizing for Air France, of which 50% of its flights are operated out of France, and notably for its domestic network, where losses amounted to above 180 million euros in 2018. In addition, last month, the government had ruled out taxation at national level due to the unfair competition that this would cause.

The government’s decision is all the more incomprehensible as this new air transport tax would reportedly finance competitive modes of transport including road transportation and not the energy transition in the air transport sector. Such a transition could have been facilitated by supporting the implementation of sustainable biofuel industries or disruptive innovations.

The Air France group is committed alongside all the industry players to reducing its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050, in accordance with the Paris climate agreement objectives. Air France has been contributing to the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) since 2012, and will contribute to the CORSIA scheme for international flights as from 2021, representing already 200 million euros per year for the Air France-KLM group by 2025.

KLM to concentrate on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Air France on the Airbus A350-900 for long-haul flights

The Air France-KLM Group has made this announcement:

Air France and KLM pursue the optimization of their respective long-haul fleets. The airlines will effectively swap the remaining firm Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 orders between them, in order to realize fleet efficiencies through harmonization and accelerated growth of similar aircraft at both airlines.

The implementation of the swap between the airlines means that in the 2021-2023 timeframe, the 6 remaining Boeing 787 ordered for Air France will be transferred to KLM, and the current 7 Airbus A350-900s on order for KLM will be transferred to Air France.

Today, Air France operates 9 Boeing 787-9s and one additional aircraft is scheduled to arrive in May 2020, resulting in a fleet of 10 Boeing 787-9s for Air France next year. In addition, Air France will receive its first Airbus A350-900 in September 2019. It has already an additional 20 on firm order to which will be added the 7 A350-900s initially intended for KLM, for a total of 28 aircraft.

KLM presently operates 13 Boeing 787-9s and will receive its first Boeing 787-10 in June 2019. This fleet will further grow to a total of 21 Boeing 787s by the end of 2020 to which will be added the 6 Boeing 787s initially intended for Air France for a total of 27 aircraft.

Options for further fleet development at Air France within the Air France-KLM group is currently under study, in consultancy with all stakeholders.

This is the first step towards harmonizing and simplifying the Air France-KLM Group fleet at its two major airlines” declared Benjamin Smith, CEO Air France-KLM.

KLM had the following statement:

“Both Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 are excellent aircraft. From a fleet management perspective, optimizing the number of different aircraft types KLM operates is very important for our operational efficiency and productivity. That is why KLM is happy to be able to expand the 787 fleet via this order swap. With these additional B787-10’s KLM will be ready to further develop its route network bringing in the next few years the total B787’s for KLM to 28 (13x B787-9 and 15x B787).”