Air France-KLM has announced plans to retire its old fleet of wide-body aircraft in favor of more modern and fuel-efficient aircraft. The Franco-Dutch Air Group has already retired the powerful Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 since the start of the pandemic and is now planning to retire the aging Airbus A330 and Boeing 777.
The push for a more modern fleet is driven by several factors, from growing awareness to the need for more fuel-efficient aircraft to fly routes to Asia, which are now longer than before due to the closure of Russian airspace.
Therefore, now there is a big difference, whether the aircraft is optimized for a flight of 15 hours or 12. A year and a half ago, this was not the case.
Today, the Air France fleet has 15 Airbus A330-200 and 18 Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, medium aged 20 and 23 respectively.
KLM operates six Airbus A330-200s, five Airbus A330-300s and 15 Boeing 777-200ERs. These aircraft are slightly younger than their Air France counterparts, with an average age of 17, 11 and 18 respectively.
Air France's youngest long haul aircraft are the Airbus A350-900 and KLM's Boeing 787–10. As for replacing aging aircraft, it remains to be seen if airlines will stick with the known types already in their fleet or if they will choose another option. The two carriers have been operating both Airbus and Boeing aircraft for years, so anything is possible.
Air France-KLM is also confirmed to be interested in acquiring TAP Air Portugal. From its hubs at Lisbon and Porto airports, the Portuguese-flagged carrier flies to more than ten destinations throughout Brazil, in addition to several other long-haul routes across the Americas.
Given its significant presence in Brazil , the acquisition of TAP Air Portugal would provide Air France-KLM with an excellent opportunity to expand its network in South America. The move could turn Air France-KLM into the largest airline group in Europe, and overtake IAG with British Airways and Iberia and the Lufthansa Group with Lufthansa and Swiss.