Franco-Dutch airline holding company, Air France-KLM Group, has signed an agreement with Airbus for a total of 50 Airbus A350 aircraft, with an option to purchase a further 40 aircraft.

This agreement is set to align with KLM’s plan to renew its older generation long-haul fleet with Airbus A350 family aircraft in the upcoming years.

The 50 aircraft will be divided between KLM and Air France based on local market dynamics and regulatory requirements, according to the company.

According to Airbus, the A350 family which features the A350-900 and A350-1000, has the capacity to fly short and long-haul routes with a range of up to 9,700 nautical miles.

KLM CEO Marjan Rintel emphasised the push for sustainability that aligns with this agreement: “Today marks a very special day for KLM. We have taken a big step towards our future with the proposed decision of purchasing new aircraft.

“We can make our fleet significantly cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient with the A350s. This is important because we are all faced with the major task of becoming more sustainable. Furthermore, we can offer our passengers much more service and comfort on intercontinental destinations.”

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According to KLM, deployment of the A350 family will commence by 2026 on intercontinental flights, which is set to replace its current fleet of Boeing 777-200ERs, Airbus A330-200s and Airbus A330-300s.

Due to the A350’s specific wing design and its Trent XWB turbofan engines, the A350 family is reported 25% lower fuel burn and CO₂ emissions compared to previous models.

The merger of Air France and KLM in 2004 oversaw the two airlines continuing to operate as separate companies, retaining their own hubs, flights and logos.