Air France and KLM have announced plans to swap their remaining orders for B787 and A350 aircraft, in a move towards “harmonizing and simplifying” their fleets.
The Air France KLM Group said that the plan would see six B787 aircraft on order for Air France being delivered to KLM, while seven A350-900s originally ordered for KLM would be transferred to Air France. The aircraft are set to be delivered “in the 2021-2023 timeframe”.
Air France currently operates nine B787-9s, with one more due to be delivered in May 2020, and will now take delivery of a total of 28 A350-900s (21 originally ordered, plus the seven from KLM). The carrier’s first A350 is due to be delivered this September.
KLM meanwhile currently operates 13 B787-9s, along with one freshly delivered B787-10. This Dreamliner fleet will grow to 21 B787s by the end of 2020, and then further to 27 with the addition of Air France’s original order.
KLM had been due to take delivery of its first B787-10 at the end of last week, in time for a 100-day countdown event celebrating the carrier’s 100th anniversary.
But this was delayed by a few days, with the carrier stating simply that “It often happens that the delivery process of an aircraft is slightly delayed due to the complexity and administrative issues”.
Air France KLM said that the swap would “realize fleet efficiencies through harmonization and accelerated growth of similar aircraft at both airlines”, adding that options for further fleet development at Air France were “currently under study”.
Commenting on the news the group’s CEO Benjamin Smith said that is was “the first step towards harmonizing and simplifying the Air France-KLM Group fleet at its two major airlines”.