Air France-KLM Group has ordered 50 Airbus A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft, with purchase rights for 40 additional aircraft. Deliveries of these A350s are scheduled to begin in 2026 and continue through 2030.
These aircraft will eventually replace the Airbus A330s and older Boeing 777 aircraft.
According to Reuters, this decision comes after an intense competition between Airbus and Boeing, with support from engine manufacturers. The airline’s fleet planners faced the challenging task of balancing considerations such as range, size, and cost as they sought to replace their Airbus A330 jets and a significant portion of the group’s aging Boeing 777s.
“This new order will be a major step in the renewal of the Group’s fleet. The Airbus A350 is a state-of-the-art aircraft with an excellent track record at Air France, where it has rapidly become a favorite among passengers and crew since its entry into service in 2019.”Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith
“It is the perfect fit for the network needs of the Group and boasts outstanding performances: it is a quieter, more fuel-efficient, and more cost-effective aircraft compared to previous generations,” continued Smith.
Smith further said that the A350 had emerged as the preferred choice due to its advantages in either range or size when compared to their 787 counterparts. This decision was influenced by the unique configuration of the post-Ukraine network.
Additionally, Smith noted that the larger Boeing 777X had not yet received certification and would not be available within the required timeframe.
“We are taking the assumption that the ban on Russian overflights is with us for at least the mid-term,” CEO Ben Smith told reporters after announcing the order.
Nevertheless, he mentioned that Air France-KLM is contemplating the adoption of a 400-seat twin-engined aircraft as a potential replacement for its Boeing 777-300ER long-haul jets, which are expected to remain in service throughout this decade.
When questioned about the prevalent production delays, Smith acknowledged that Air France-KLM had explored the possibility of dividing the order between Airbus and Boeing. However, the airline group ultimately decided to stick with a single supplier, benefiting from competitive pricing, while ensuring that their fleet remains diversified.
This new order will come in addition to an existing Air France-KLM order for 41 Airbus A350-900s for Air France, of which 22 have been delivered to date.
Furthermore, Air France-KLM will also be among the launch customers of the Airbus A350 Full Freighter version of the aircraft, having ordered 8 aircraft to renew and expand its cargo fleet.
With these combined orders, covering up to 99 aircraft, Air France-KLM would become the world’s largest A350 family aircraft operator.
Air Canada Orders Up to 30 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners
Air Canada has ordered 18 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, with the option to purchase 12 additional aircraft. The Montreal-based carrier will receive the 787-10s between the fourth quarter of 2025 and the first quarter of 2027.
With the induction of the 787-10 Dreamliners, Air Canada will be one of the handful of carriers to operate each variant of the Boeing 787 Family.
“Air Canada has made investing in the passenger experience a core priority. Our experience shows customers greatly enjoy flying on the Dreamliner, so we are pleased to offer them a larger version of this popular aircraft, which will premiere a new, state-of-the-art interior cabin design.”Michael Rousseau, president and CEO of Air Canada.
As part of the deal, Air Canada canceled orders for two 777 Freighters.
Air Canada currently operates a fleet of 38 787s, including eight 787-8 and 30 787-9 jets.
“With the 787 Dreamliner family, Air Canada will soon operate one of the most modern, efficient widebody fleets in the world. The 787-10 will provide Air Canada with greater flexibility and commonality across its expansive network, connecting Canadians to destinations around the world.”Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.