First A220 for Air France
The Airbus A220 quickly proved to be an incredible investment for the European manufacturer. Since the resumption of the Bombardier program, Airbus has recorded orders for 648 such units, 164 of which have already been delivered to customers.
The biggest customer is Delta Air Lines, which has orders for 45 A220-100 and 59 A220-300. Its largest customer for the A220-300 to date is JetBlue, with orders for 70 of this type. However, the second largest order for the A220-300 came from a little closer to home.
In July 2019, the European group Air France-KLM announced an order for 60 A220-300s, all for Air France. The planes will be used to replace its aging A318 and A319 planes, having similar capacity but much better fuel economy and a more modern passenger experience.
Earlier this year, Air France announced that it would take delivery of the first A220 in its fleet in September of this year. Today, it has moved closer to that initial arrival, with its first spotted plane coming out of the Mirabel paint shop, with its Air France livery.
The A220 is registered C-FPBQ for its Canadian test flights, but will adopt F-HZUA as the French registration once it is handed over to the airline later this year.
What’s next for Uniform Alpha?
Before reaching Europe, Air France’s first A220 will have to undergo additional checks. It will undergo numerous ground and flight tests before a final acceptance flight by the customer, then will make its long journey to Paris to join the Air France fleet.
Although it should arrive in a few months, it will not enter commercial service until a little later this year. Air France plans to use the aircraft for training purposes for more than a month, during which the crews will familiarize themselves with the operations and capabilities of the aircraft.
Upstream, Air France has already set up two groups of workers who will run training on the new type. One group is made up of pilots, while the other is made up of flight attendants.
On the pilot side, the instructor pilots on the right have already completed a training course in Montreal and are currently training 28 other instructors using a full flight simulator. Once the first A220 arrives, around twenty flights in real conditions will be carried out by these trainee pilots, before obtaining their A220-300 type rating. Ultimately, nearly 700 Air France pilots will be trained to fly the A220.
On the flight attendant side, 14 flight attendants were trained in Zurich on the A220 last year. They are currently finalizing the training content and manuals so that they can deliver the training to a small group of 37 flight attendants themselves. The training will eventually be distributed to some 2,500 Air France flight attendants.
Are you enthusiastic about the arrival of the A220s for the Air France fleet?