Salkin0122, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Air France Continues Airbus A318 Fleet Retirement

LONDON – Air France continues with its slow fleet retirement of Airbus A318 aircraft as F-GUGI headed to St. Athan today.

F-GUGI operated AFR366V today to St. Athan from Toulouse, which is an airport in the UK known for aircraft retirements and scrapping.

It is unclear whether the aircraft will be scrapped or stored at this stage, with more information to come on this in the weeks ahead.

Slow & Gradual Withdrawal…


Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It has been a slow and gradual withdrawal from the Air France portfolio, which has been ongoing since August 2021.

F-GUGA was the first A318 to go and was scrapped in Kemble on October 29 last year.

As per Planespotters.net, the following A318s have been withdrawn from Air France so far:

  • F-GUGA – Scrapped in Kemble.
  • F-GUGB – Stored in Blytheville, Arkansas – Now N511WD with Fortress Transportation since March 2022.
  • F-GUGC – Stored in Blytheville – Now N510WD with Fortress Transportation since March 2022.
  • F-GUGD – Stored in Blytheville – Now N932XB with Fortress Transportation since March 2022.
  • F-GUGE – Stored in Blytheville – Now N932YU with UMB Bank since March 2022.
  • F-GUGF – Scrapped in Kemble in January 2022.
  • F-GUGG – Withdrawn from use in October 2022, stored in Castellon, Spain.
  • F-GUGH – Withdrawn from use in June 2022, stored in Rome Griffiss International Airport, USA, since July 2022.

With F-GUGI now in St. Athan, this leaves Air France with the following airframes remaining at the time of writing:

  • F-GUGJ
  • F-GUGK
  • F-GUGL
  • F-GUGM
  • F-GUGN
  • F-GUGO
  • F-GUGP
  • F-GUGQ
  • F-GUGR

With the slow & gradual withdrawal taking place, this will allow enthusiasts and travelers to see the aircraft for a short period of time before they are all gone.

What Is Their Replacement?


MarcelX42, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The A318s with Air France typically sit around 131 passengers based on their standard configurations.

However, as the airline has been taking deliveries of the A220-300, which can seat around 148 passengers, Air France can offer more capacity on the routes that the A318 normally serves.

What we are beginning to see is the retirement of the A318s in correspondence with when new A220s are delivered to Air France.

With the A220s being relatively newer to the scene than the A318s, this is also going to save Air France money in the long run, as well as make them more money with the capacity offerings per flight.

British Airways Used To Have A318s…


Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Like with Concorde, both British Airways and Air France used to operate A318s, although British Airways’ were used for different routes entirely.

G-EUNA (Now scrapped) and G-EUNB (Now with Titan Airways) used to operate an all-business configurated flight from London City to New York with a stopover in Shannon, Ireland.

With Air France, they had more of the aircraft type, which was utilized more on domestic flights and on routes where smaller aircraft were needed.

Like with the Air France A318s, the British Airways frames were a pleasant sight to see as well.

Overall…


Anna Zvereva from Tallinn, Estonia, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It remains clear that these A318s will be missed as more and more of them get withdrawn from use in the coming years ahead.

The hope is that not many are scrapped when they leave the airline and that they can be maintained with other customers down the road.

But for Air France, there is still time left to see some of the outstanding A318 airframes that they have in their arsenal still.

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