Air France-KLM looking to replace more old planes with fuel-efficient models

SCHIPHOL - Air France-KLM is looking into replacing more of its old widebody planes with newer, more fuel-efficient models from Airbus and Boeing for long-haul flights, CEO Ben Smith told Bloomberg at the annual AITA general meeting in Turkey. 


The French-Dutch airline combination has already retired its Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s and is now looking at ditching its A330s and Boeing 777s. These planes are all pushing two decades, and technology has advanced. 


Air France-KLM is looking at newer models partly due to climate considerations. But also because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Airlines now have to fly around Russia instead of over it, which can add several hours and a lot of fuel consumption to a long-haul flight. 


“A plane that is optimized at 15 hours and one that’s optimized at 12 is not necessarily the same,” Smith told Bloomberg. “So this, of course, now plays into the evaluation, where a year and a half ago, that would not have been the case.” 


Smith also said that Air France-KLM was still interested in acquiring the Portuguese airline TAP due to its “interesting geographical positioning” and close ties with South America. But whether it would push the acquisition depends on the conditions set by the Portuguese government. “It is interesting under the right conditions,” Smith said.