Air France-KLM would (finally) rationalize its fleet

Air France-KLM would have finally decided to rationalize its fleet by limiting the heterogeneity of the aircraft operated by each airline of the group.

The A350s at Air France, the B787s at KLM

The group has apparently decided to assign all the A350s it will receive in the future to Air France, while the B787s will go to KLM.

To date, the group has an order for 28 Airbus A350-900, 21 of which will go to Air France and 7 to KLM. Of the 21 Air France planes, the first 6 would have initially gone to Joon and were transferred to the parent airline’s fleet when the pseudo-low-cost airline stopped.

No aircraft has yet been delivered, so the 28 will land at Air France.

In addition, 25 Boeing B787 Dreamliner aircraft have been ordered by the Franco-Dutch group (17 787-9 and 8 787-1). Today, 13 of the 787-9s are in service with KLM and 7 with Air France. Air France expects delivery of another aircraft in the spring and two more later in the year. So we can already see that there is something wrong with the figures since there are already at least 3,787-9 too many. It could be that in addition to its order the group has added some leased aircraft along the way.

What will become of the Air France 787s?

If the situation is clear for Airbus, it remains more nebulous for Boeing.

Future deliveries should arrive at KLM…but what about the aircraft in production? If an aircraft were to be delivered in the spring, there is a good chance that it would already be widely “branded” Air France.

And what will happen to the current aircraft in service with Air France? Will they be transferred to KLM? Logic would say yes, otherwise KLM could legitimately complain that it has been taken advantage of again with an Air France that finally received most of the new aircraft. But the operation would require at least a paint job, or even a change of cabins, even if the two airlines have the same seat, only the colors change. But a cabin in the Air France colors at KLM would still lack professionalism.

Cabin uniformity is not for tomorrow

That said, while we’re on the subject of cabins, Air France is legendary for the inconsistency of its cabins within its fleet and it’s set to continue.

To date, only part of the 777 and 787 fleet has the new “best” cabins. Fortunately the others will be retrofitted soon but it will have been a long time! The 380 still uses the old cabins found on some of the 777s, and the 330 will have its own cabin with a business cabin that sacrifices passenger comfort for density by abandoning full access.

The 350 ? The first ones will have a “Joon” cabin and the following ones an Air France cabin.

So long for consistency and it will continue to be Russian roulette for the passengers.

What the plan does not say

It is not known whether the group intends to take this rationalization further. For medium-haul flights, there is a tradition of Airbus at Air France and Boeings at KLM, which we do not believe will be challenged in the near future.

For long-haul flights, the cause of the B787s and A350s seems to have been heard, despite the vagueness mentioned above.

The B787 and A380? They have no future in any of the fleets and one wonders why Air France is still investing in the cabin of its A380s when the real issue would be to get them out of the fleet.

But both airlines operate both A330s and B777s.

For obvious network reasons, it is not possible to put all the 330s on one plane and the 777s on the other.

The rationalization of the fleet is a real need and will be a long road that we are not sure to see the end of

For that of the cabins we no longer believe in it.

Photo : B787 KLM by verzellenber via Shutterstock

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrin
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.

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