Air France takes delivery of its first Airbus A220-300
It’s been a while, but finally – Air France took delivery of its first A220-300 at a ceremony today.
This A220-300 is the first of the 60 aircraft that will join the Air France fleet, as part of the renewal of its existing fleet. They will replace the Airbus A318, Airbus A319 and some Airbus A320s in the fleet.
The order is large – with 60 firm orders, 30 options and 30 purchase rights.
The first A220-300 will be called “Le Bourget” in homage to the city to the north of Paris which is deeply linked to the aeronautics industry. It is presented in the Air France house livery, with the winged seahorse at the front of its fuselage and at the end of the wing, a symbol embodying the founding myth of the company.
The Air France Airbus A220-300 has 148 seats, in a configuration of 3 to 2 seats (5 seats in width) offering 80% of customers a seat on the window or aisle.
It offers two travel cabins, Business and Economy, and access to Air France Connect, the airline’s in-flight Wi-Fi service.
The seat is wide, reaching 48 cm (or 18.9 inches). It tilts 118 degrees and features an adjustable headrest, leather upholstery and an ergonomic seat cushion for added comfort. A tablet, a cup holder, a pocket for storing magazines and books, individual USB A and C ports and a tablet or smartphone holder integrated into the backrest complete the package.
Although the pitch has not been disclosed, it would be safe to assume 29 ″, which seems to be the norm these days.
The cabin is decorated in Air France’s signature colors: shades of blue, a strong presence of white bringing light and contrast, and a hint of red.
The carpet revisits the traditional ornamental herringbone pattern, symbolizing the emblematic Haussmannian-inspired universe of Parisian apartments.
Presentation of the service
Air France will quickly put its A220-300 fleet to work, with the following destinations confirmed in the first deployment starting October 31, 2021:
- Berlin, Germany)
- Barcelona, Spain)
- Madrid, Spain)
- Milan-Linate (Italy)
- Venice, Italy)
These aircraft will be based from the airline’s hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. During the winter season, other destinations will come, including:
- Bologna (Italy)
- Rome, Italy)
- Lisbon, Portugal)
- Copenhagen, Denmark)
The dates of these services are to be confirmed.
Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM said
“This new aircraft with unrivaled energy performance represents a major asset for Air France. To date, fleet renewal is the main source of CO reduction2 and that is why we continue to invest in the latest generation aircraft. We also activate all the levers at our disposal such as sustainable fuels or eco-piloting, as part of our contribution to the promotion of a carbon neutral air transport industry and positioning ourselves as a leading player more sustainable aviation”
Anne Rigail, CEO of Air France said
“The arrival of a new aircraft is always a special occasion for an airline. All Air France teams have spent more than two years preparing for this moment and we are delighted to see our customers discover the optimal comfort offered by this aircraft. The cabin is more spacious, brighter and offers full Wi-Fi connectivity, thus contributing to the high-end positioning of our offer. added
Filling Airbus’ small gaps
If we take a look at Airbus’ recent order book, you’ll notice that there have been minimum orders for the A319neo, with orders revolving around the bigger A320neo and A321neo and their variants.
But there is still a gap in the market for seats below 150 – a niche that the Airbus A220-100 and A220-300 have appeared to be taking advantage of.
While a common advantage of the cockpit is lost for the moment (the A220 and A320 families having different cockpits due to their lines), Air France intends to save money – not only the A220-300 can accommodate up to 148 passengers, but it will also happily swallow up the A318 and A319 loads, while having free space on board, allowing for growth
With some of the older A320s also being targeted in this renewal, Air France is looking to the A220 to offer lower benefits and costs.
And I am sure that other airlines which have in mind the renewal of their fleets will be very attentive.
Images, Air France.
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