Air France-KLM launches tender for major narrow body order

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Air France-KLM has launched a tender for the renewal and expansion of the group’s narrowbody fleet, a holding spokesperson confirmed to Reuters.

Group Chief Executive Ben Smith told Het Financielee Dagblad, a Dutch financial newspaper, a few days earlier that the order may comprise as many as 160 aircraft. He would not go into any further details regarding the types but said discussions were being held with both Airbus and Boeing.

“We’ve done a little bit in this area, it’s been on the agenda since 2004, but it’s never been put in place as it is now. I am very pleased to be able to put together this order, the largest in the group’s history,” Smith said.

The ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows Air France (AF, Paris CDG) currently operates eighteen A318-100s, thirty-one A319-100s, forty-four A320-200s, five A321-100s, and fourteen A321-200s in terms of narrowbody aircraft. The airline has sixty A220-300s on firm order from Airbus and plans to replace both the A318s and A319s with the new type. Deliveries of the A220s are due to begin in September 2021. The French carrier does not have any other single-aisle aircraft on orders. In turn, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operates thirteen B737-700s, thirty-one B737-800s, and five B737-900s, and has no outstanding orders for any narrowbody aircraft.

The group also includes Transavia Airlines and Transavia France, which operate four B737-700s and eighty-five -800s between the two of them. However, the LCC units have a high degree of managerial independence and would likely not be included in the order placed by Air France-KLM as a group.

In the past, Smith called upon Airbus to develop the A220-500, a stretched version of its newest type, as a potential replacement for the A320-sized jets. The manufacturer has yet to commit to the programme, however