Air France has taken delivery of the first of 60 Airbus A220 aircraft, part of efforts to renew its fleet with newer, more fuel-efficient jets.
The first A220, with registration number F-HZUA, will be called “Le Bourget”, Air France said, adding it was making a return to naming its planes after cities.
“This order of 60 A220 represents investments that we maintained, despite the historic crisis we went through,” Air France-KLM chief executive Ben Smith said at a ceremony on September 29, 2021 to unveil the plane.
Air France chair Anne Couderac added that the arrival of the A220 was a “strong symbol” after months of crisis.
Air France’s 2019 order for 60 A220-300 jets is the largest order for the type from a European airline, Airbus highlighted. Latvian carrier airBaltic also placed an order for up to 60 of the jets, originally known as the CSeries, in May 2018, which was shortly before Airbus took control of the program from Bombardier.
The Air France A220 will have 148 seats in a single-class layout, with WiFi connectivity, and two USB sockets at each passenger seat.
Air France plans to integrate the aircraft into its fleet by 2025, to replace the Airbus A318 and A319, as well as some A320s. It has also taken delivery of 11 Airbus A350s out of an order of 38 to renew its long-haul fleet.
“The A220 is the symbol of the effort that AirFrance has initiated to win back on its medium-haul network. It’s a dense and ambitious program serving the customer experience and our competitiveness,” commented Anne Rigail, CEO of Air France at the ceremony.
The first flight for the Air France A220 will be on October 31, 2021 from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Berlin (BER). It will fly to various destinations in Europe, including Barcelona, Madrid, Bologna, Rome, Venice, and Copenhagen.
Air France said the A220-300 will provide a cost reduction per seat of 10% compared to the A318 and A319, and that the aircraft consumes 20% less fuel, with a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions.