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Home » Aircraft » KLM Announces Switch to All A350 Long-Haul Fleet with AF-KLM 50 Order+40 Option

KLM Announces Switch to All A350 Long-Haul Fleet with AF-KLM 50 Order+40 Option

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has announced plans to renew its older generation long-haul fleet with all Airbus A350 family aircraft in the coming years.

The Air France KLM Group has signed an agreement with Airbus for 50 Airbus A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft, with an option for 40 further aircraft. According to local market dynamics and regulatory conditions, the 50 aircraft ordered will be allocated between KLM and Air France. KLM expects to begin deploying the Airbus A350 on intercontinental flights in 2026, replacing its Boeing 777-200ERs, Airbus A330-200s and Airbus A330-300s.

“Today marks a very special day for KLM. We have taken a big step towards our future with the proposed decision of purchasing new aircraft. We can make our fleet significantly cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient with the A350s. This is important, because we are all faced with the major task of becoming more sustainable. Furthermore, we can offer our passengers much more service and comfort on intercontinental destinations.”

Marjan Rintel, CEO KLM

Cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft

KLM highlighted the environmental benefits of an all-A350 long-haul fleet. It is acknowled­ged as the most fuel-efficient and silent aircraft of its generation. These new wide-body aircraft have substantial benefits in reducing CO2 emissions and noise impact.

The new Airbus A350 constitutes a major step in building a cleaner and quieter fleet, producing 40% less noise. The aircraft burns 25% less fuel than similar aircraft of the older generation. The aircraft’s hull largely consists of reinforced, lightweight materials (composites and titanium). These material enhancements ensure the aircraft can cover longer distances with less fuel. Combined with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and other operational innovations and efficiency gains, KLM believes these new aircraft will make their operations significantly cleaner, quieter, and more fuel-efficient. The airline also highlighted the customer experience, comfort, and efficiency benefits of the Airbus A350 as a reason for the switch.

The order announced by KLM is subject to the recommendations of the KLM Works Council.

Air France-KLM to become the world’s largest Airbus A350 family aircraft operator.

In its own announcement, the Air France-KLM Group also attributed the long-haul fleet renewal as a “benefit of the Group’s environmental and economic performance.”

Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith stated: “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. 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. It will be instrumental in helping the Group reach our ambitious sustainability targets, including -30% CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer by 2030.”

Air France-KLM recently announced a substantial aircraft order that will see the replacement of their older Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 models. Airbus will deliver the new aircraft between 2026 and 2030. This order compliments the Group’s existing order of 41 Airbus A350-900s for Air France, of which 22 have already been delivered.

In addition to this, Air France-KLM has also placed an order for 8 Airbus A350 Full Freighter aircraft to enhance and modernize their cargo fleet.

With the delivery of these aircraft, Air France-KLM will be the world’s largest operator of the A350 family, having up to 99 planes in their fleet. This move will increase the percentage of new-generation aircraft Air France-KLM airlines fly, from 5% in 2019 to 64% by 2028.

As of September 25, 2023, Air France-KLM operates a fleet of 533 planes that serve over 300 destinations globally. With over 220 aircraft on order, including 100 Airbus A320neo family aircraft. They are committed to expanding and rejuvenating their fleet.

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