On the same day that it announced the purchase of 60 Airbus A220-300 jets, Air France confirmed that it will no longer operate the A380, the world’s largest passenger jet.
The airline has already announced that it will withdraw three of its 10 planes from service soon and will also retire the remaining jets by 2022.
Of the remaining seven, five are owned by Air France and the other two leased. The justification for getting the A380 out of operation involves high fuel consumption as well as environmental limits.
According to the company, “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. ”
Air France, however, has not yet been able to say which aircraft will replace the Airbus jet. The airline’s 10 A380s are configured to carry 516 passengers in four classes and even include private suites.
Certainly, the jet that will take its place will dispense with luxury in exchange for a more cost-effective cabin configuration. Of the aircraft available on the market, only the A350-1000 and the Boeing 777-9 have large passenger capacity, which is an advantage for the US model.
Owner of a first-generation 70 Boeing 777 fleet, Air France is a potential customer of the US manufacturer’s new widebody, which can carry up to 426 passengers in a two-class cabin.
Nevertheless, the company may choose smaller aircraft such as the A330neo or 787-9 which are more versatile and could be delivered in a shorter timeframe. Air France says it is in no hurry to decide the matter.