Air France says it will retire its fleet of 10 Airbus A380s by the end of 2022 due to the limited number of profitable markets for the aircraft.
The move to end A380 operations by 2022 was announced on Tuesday (European time) and followed a previous decision to reduce the fleet from 10 to seven aircraft.
The company said in a statement keeping the A380 in the fleet would involve significant costs.
“The current competitive environment limits the markets in which the A380 can profitably operate,” the airline’s parent company Air France-KLM said in a statement.
“With four engines, the A380 consumes 20-25 per cent more fuel per seat than new generation long-haul aircraft, and therefore emits more CO2.
“Increasing aircraft maintenance costs, as well as necessary cabin refurbishments to meet customer expectations reduce the economic attractiveness of Air France’s A380s even further.”
Air France joins other carriers such as Lufthansa and Qatar Airways who have announced plans to either reduce or withdraw the A380 from their fleets.
There are currently 15 operators of the A380, with Emirates having the largest fleet at 112 (with outstanding orders for five more) and HiFly the smallest with one.
The most recent new airline to take delivery of the A380 was All Nippon Airways (ANA) in March. The Japanese carrier is using its three A380s on flights between Japan and Hawaii.
Production of the world’s largest passenger aircraft is ending in 2021, Airbus announced in February, amid weak demand for in the very large aircraft segment and a preference for long-range twin-engine variants such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.
VIDEO: A behind-the-scenes look at the work getting an A380 flight departure from Air France’s YouTube channel.
While A380s going, Air France getting A220s
Meanwhile, Air France has ordered 60 Airbus A220-300 – formerly known as the C Series CS300 – regional jets along with 30 options and 30 purchase rights.
First delivery was expected in 2021, Air France-KLM said.
The A220-300 was “perfectly suited to replace” Air France’s Airbus A318s and A319s currently being flown on the airline’s short- and medium-haul network.
“These decisions support the Air France-KLM Group’s fleet competitiveness strategy,” Air France-KLM group chief executive Benjamin Smith said in a statement. “They follow the recent orders for A350s and Boeing 787s that Air France and KLM have placed.”
“We are very pleased to work with Airbus to add the A220-300 to our fleet, an aircraft that demonstrates optimum environmental, operational, and economic efficiency.”
VIDEO: A look at what the A220-300 will look like in Air France livery from the airline’s YouTube channel.