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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Air France prepares for the arrival of the first Airbus A220

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Air France issued the following statement:

The company’s first Airbus A220 with the Air France livery has left the paint shop. This aircraft embodies the airline’s sustainability commitments with 20% less fuel used compared to the aircraft it is replacing and a 34% lower noise footprint. All Air France crews are preparing to welcome this aircraft in September at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Air France is constantly renewing its fleet. The airline will take delivery of the first of 60 Airbus A220-300s it has bought to replace its Airbus A318s and A319s on the short and medium-haul network by the end of September.

The first Airbus A220 built for Air France recently departed from the Airbus paint plant in Mirabel, near Montreal. It is painted in the new Air France colors and prominently displays the winged seahorse, the airline’s iconic symbol encapsulating its rich history, on the front of the fuselage.

Because it is composed of lighter composite materials, the Airbus A220 consumes 20% less fuel than previous generation aircraft and has a 34% lower noise footprint. It will be critical in meeting Air France’s sustainable development goals, which include a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions in absolute terms on the domestic network from Paris-Orly and on inter-regional routes by 2024 (1) and a 50% decrease in CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 2030. (2).

Flight safety is critical in the preparations for the arrival of the A220, thus tests and crew training are essential.

Before flying to Paris to carry Air France passengers, the plane will go through a number of ground and in-flight testing. It will be used for more than a month after its arrival to teach the airline’s flight crews, some of whom began the so-called “type rating” procedure last summer.

As with any new type of aircraft, the airline has established two main groups, one of pilots and the other of flight attendants. These already qualified crew members will subsequently be in charge of training their coworkers within the scope of government-approved in-house programs.

Eight instructor pilots underwent an 8-week theoretical and practical training course at the Airbus training center in Montreal last September. They are currently educating their colleagues – including the remaining 28 instructors on the pilot launch team – particularly using a Full Flight Simulator (FFS) installed on jacks and assembled at Air France’s flight simulation center at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Once Air France receives the first aircraft, this simulator training will be reinforced by about 20 real-world flights in order to achieve the A220-300 type rating. Eventually, close to 700 Air France pilots will be qualified to fly this aircraft.

Cabin staff will be taught using the same core group system, with 14 flight attendants trained in Zurich between September and December 2020. They are currently completing the training manuals and content that will be provided by them beginning in September 2021.

The core group has chosen and trained a set of 37 flight attendants to complete cabin crew practical flight training as soon as the A220 goes into service. Two Air France A220 door models have been installed at the Air France Crew Academy in Paray Vieille-Poste, near Paris-Orly, to teach approximately 2,500 flight attendants.

The entire firm, including the pilots and flight attendants, is ready to welcome the Airbus A220. All operational sectors, from maintenance to station personnel, are preparing for the arrival of this next-generation aircraft.

In a 3-2 cabin layout, the Air France Airbus A220 will be able to accommodate 148 passengers. Each seat will have type A and type C USB connections, and all passengers will have access to Wi-Fi from their personal devices.

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