SHARE
COPY LINK

AIRBUS

Air France orders €7.2b worth of A350 planes

French airline company Air France confirmed on Wednesday a multi-billion euro order of Airbus's new A350 planes. The planes are not yet in service and only recently carried out a test flight (see video).

Air France orders €7.2b worth of A350 planes
Airbus's new A350 long-haul aircraft does a taxi test at Toulouse-Blagnace aerodrome in south-western France on June 11th. Photo: Eric Cabanis/AFP

Air France on Wednesday confirmed an order for 25 of Airbus's next-generation A350 planes in a deal worth $7.2
billion (5.4 billion euros) at catalogue prices.

The planes will come into service in 2017, Alexandre de Juniac, head of the French carrier, told reporters at the Paris Air Show.

Speaking after the multi-billion deal was announced Airbus head Fabrice Bregier promised on Wednesday that more orders for its next-generation A350 plane would come "before the end of the day".

Airbus will enter a test flying period it hopes will last less than 18 months, and plans to deliver its first A350 at the end of next year.

The A350 will complete Airbus's long-haul stable, which includes the A380 super jumbo, and will gradually replace the older A330, a plane that has generated almost half of the firm's revenues in recent years, Cunningham said.

The extensive use of carbon-based composites means the new plane will be lighter and deliver fuel economy – much like its rival, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

Despite dethroning Boeing in the medium-hall segment, Airbus still needs to catch up with its rival in the long-range market, where the US firm dominates with its 777 and Dreamliner, despite the latter's recent technical problems.

Initially meant as a direct competitor to the Dreamliner, Airbus has now positioned the A350 between Boeing's popular 777 and the new 787, hoping to eat away at both planes' markets.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

AIR FRANCE

Air France, Hop! to cut 7,580 jobs

Air France management said Friday it planned to eliminate 7,580 jobs at the airline and its regional unit Hop! by the end of 2022 because of the coronavirus crisis.

Air France, Hop! to cut 7,580 jobs
An Air France plane lands at JFK airport in New York. Image: STAN HONDA / AFP

The carrier wants to get rid of 6,560 positions of the 41,000 at Air France, and 1,020 positions of the 2,420 at Hop!, according to a statement issued after meetings between managers and staff representatives.

“For three months, Air France's activity and turnover have plummeted 95 percent, and at the height of the crisis, the company lost 15 million euros a day,” said the group, which anticipated a “very slow” recovery.

The aviation industry has been hammered by the travel restrictions imposed to contain the virus outbreak, with firms worldwide still uncertain when they will be able to get grounded planes back into the air.

Air France said it wanted to begin a “transformation that rests mainly on changing the model of its domestic activity, reorganising its support functions and pursuing the reduction of its external and internal costs”.

The planned job cuts amount to 16 percent of Air France's staff and 40 percent of those at Hop!

With the focus on short-haul flights, management is counting mainly on the non-replacement of retiring workers or voluntary departures and increasing geographic mobility.

However, unions warn that Air France may resort to layoffs for the first time, if not enough staff agree to leave or move to other locations. 

'Crisis is brutal'

Shaken heavily by the coronavirus crisis, like the entire aviation sector, the Air France group launched a reconstruction plan aiming to reduce its loss-making French network by 40 percent through the end of 2021.

“The crisis is brutal and these measures are on an unprecedented scale,” CEO Anne Rigail conceded in a message to employees, a copy of which AFP obtained. They also include, she said, “salary curbs with a freeze on general and individual increases (outside seniority and promotions) for all in 2021 and 2022,” including executives of Air France.

The airline told AFP earlier this week that: “The lasting drop in activity and the economic context due to the COVID-19 crisis require the acceleration of Air France's transformation.”

Air France-KLM posted a loss of 1.8 billion euros in the first quarter alone, and has warned it could be years before operations return to pre-coronavirus levels.

Air France has been offered seven billion euros in emergency loans from the French state or backed by it, while the Dutch government approved a 3.4 billion euro package of bailout loans for KLM last week.

The group joins a long list of airlines that have announced job cuts in recent weeks.

Lufthansa is to slash 22,000 jobs, British Airways 12,000, Delta Air Lines 10,000 and Qantas 6,000.

SHOW COMMENTS