Air France confirms phase-out of Airbus A380 fleet

Overhead view of an Air France Airbus A380 landing.
Photo Credit: Jakkrit Prasertwit (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

Air France has now formally announced the definitive end of its Airbus A380 operations.

In today’s statement the Air France-KLM Group confirmed the phase-out of the A380 fleet saying it was “in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis and its impact on anticipated activity levels.”

Active fleet renewal program

Initially scheduled by the end of 2022, the phase-out of Airbus A380 fleet fits in the currently active Air France-KLM Group fleet simplification strategy.

The goal of the groups fleet rationalisation is to makie the fleet more competitive, by continuing its transformation with more modern, high-performance aircraft with a significantly reduced environmental footprint.

Five of the Airbus A380 aircraft in the current fleet are owned by Air France or on finance lease, while four are on operating lease.

The global impact of the Airbus A380 phase-out write down is estimated at 500 million euros and will be booked in the second quarter of 2020 as a non-current cost/expenses.

Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 replacements

Airbus A380 will be replaced by new generation aircraft, including Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, whose deliveries are ongoing.

Air France-KLM’s fleet renewal programme has continued in an ongoing effort to improve the Group’s economic and environmental performance.

In January 2023 the group announced two major orders for the upgrade of both its cargo and passenger operational fleet.

Cargo Fleet

A firm order was placed for 4 Airbus A350F full freighter aircraft, to be operated by Martinair on behalf of KLM Cargo.

These Airbus A350Fs will replace the fleet of 4 Boeing 747Fs currently operated by KLM Cargo and Martinair. They will be based at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

In December 2021, Air France-KLM had placed the order for 4 Airbus A350F full freighter aircraft for Air France.

Deliveries to Martinair and Air France are expected as of the second half of 2026, meaning both airlines will be among the launch operators of the A350F full freighter.

Benefiting from the latest technological innovations and powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines, the Airbus A350F delivers significantly improved environmental performance with an over 40% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to the Boeing 747F. Its noise footprint is also 50% lower.

Passenger fleet 

At the same time, a firm order for 3 additional Airbus A350-900 passenger aircraft for Air France was made, bringing the total number of A350-900 expected by Air France to 41.

These Airbus A350s will replace previous-generation aircraft including the A380, and part two be based at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport.

 They will feature a three-class configuration (Business, Premium Economy, Economy).

 “Investing in the renewal of our fleet means investing in the future of our Group,” said Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM at the time of the January 2023 announcement.

“I am delighted to announce that KLM and Air France’s cargo divisions will soon operate the quietest and most advanced full freighter aircraft available on the market, the Airbus A350F.”

“I am also very happy to announce that Air France will continue to accelerate the renewal of its fleet with the addition of 3 A350 passenger aircraft.”

“Since its entry into service at Air France, the A350-900 has proved to be a reliable and efficient aircraft, as well as a game changer in terms of reduction of CO2 and noise emissions.”

Deliveries of the new fleet aircraft are expected in 2024.  

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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