Replacement for A320, A321 and Boeing 737: Air France continues to push Airbus for A220-500

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    At Air France-KLM, decisions about the replacement of Airbus A320, A321 and Boeing 737 are pending.  The company would like an A220-500, but is also looking at other models.
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    <p>Airbus has already made it clear: the question is not whether a larger A220 will be built, but when.  Nevertheless, the aircraft manufacturer has repeatedly stated that there is no rush to implement the idea.  The current focus is on ramping up production and sales of the A220-100 and A220-300.  Further development is "not one of our current priorities".

But one person keeps pushing Airbus to speed up. In July 2019, Air France ordered 60 A220s and secured options and purchase rights for 60 more copies. Just a few weeks later, Air France KLM boss Benjamin Smith announced that he was interested in a stretched version of the aircraft. The A220-100 offers a maximum of 135 seats, the A220-300 up to 160.

A successor to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 has not yet been ordered

Now he has expressed his interest again. An Airbus A220-500 would make sense, Smith explained on Monday (November 30th) according to the portals Luchtvaartnieuws and Simple Flying at the online conference Routes Reconnected. Air France will have to replace its 44 Airbus A320s and 20 A321s in the near future. The sister airline KLM is about to replace the 52 Boeing 737s. Air France-KLM is the only large group that has not yet ordered any of the successor models, neither the Airbus A320 Neo nor the Boeing 737 Max.

When the A220-100 and A220-300 were still called the CS100 and CS300, Bombardier was already thinking of offering larger versions of the C-Series. The Canadian aircraft manufacturer had also registered the names CS500 and CS900. But there was not enough money to start realizing the plans in earnest. It’s different at Airbus – even if the Corona crisis has also worsened the financial situation of the Europeans.

Airbus A220-500 theoretically in pole position

The A220-500 obviously seems to be the favorite at Air France-KLM. But if Airbus does not build the aircraft, they will evade, says Smith. Take a look at the Boeing 737 Max, as well as the Airbus A320 Neo and A321 Neo – including the LR and XLR variants with increased range.

As the national airline of the Airbus home country France, at least Air France will hardly rely on the Boeing jet. Before the A220 order was placed, there were rumors that the airline would order the A320 Neo and A321 Neo.

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