Air France Takes Its First Airbus A220

 - September 29, 2021, 9:35 AM
Air France accepted delivery of its first of 60 Airbus A220-300s on September 29. (Photo: Airbus)

Air France took delivery of its first A220-300 from an order for 60 of the type from Airbus’s final assembly line in Mirabel, Quebec, and officially unveiled the 148-passenger narrowbody to the public during a Wednesday ceremony at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport.

Air France plans to operate this first A220 on its medium-haul network, starting on October 31 with service to Berlin; Barcelona and Madrid, Spain; and Milan and Venice, Italy. The airline added that it expects to operate the aircraft during the 2021-2022 winter season to Rome and Bologna, Italy; Lisbon, Portugal; and Copenhagen, Denmark.

Since introducing the Airbus A350 on its long-haul network in September 2019, Air France has continued its fleet renewal and, by 2025, it plans to have added the 60 A220-300s on order to replace its Airbus A318s and A319s as well as several Airbus A320s. The A220 order—the largest from a European customer—includes an additional mix of 30 options and 30 purchase rights.

“This new aircraft with an unparalleled energy performance represents a major asset for Air France,” said Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith. “To date, fleet renewal is the main source of reducing CO2 emissions, and this is why we are continuing to invest in latest-generation aircraft. We are also activating all the levers at our disposal, such as sustainable fuels and eco-piloting, as part of our contribution to promoting a carbon-neutral air transport industry and positioning ourselves as a leading player of more sustainable aviation.”

Airbus says the A220 burns up to 25 percent less fuel, generates 25 percent fewer CO2 emissions per seat, and projects a 50 percent smaller noise footprint than previous-generation aircraft. The company also says it emits 50 percent less NOx than industry standards.

As of the end of August, the manufacturer has delivered more than 170 A220s to 11 operators.