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Air France to retire A380 by 2022

Air France will retire its Airbus A380 fleet by 2022 and is studying options to replace the double-deck type with twinjets.

The airline previously decided to decommission three of its 10 A380s and now approved "in principle" the retirement of the remaining seven aircraft, Air France-KLM says.

Five of the seven aircraft in question are owned by Air France, while the balance is leased.

Air France-KLM says that "the current competitive environment limits the markets in which the A380 can profitably operate".

The airline asserts that the four-engined aircraft's per-seat fuel consumption is 20-25% higher than "new-generation" long-haul twinjets.

"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."

The airline group adds: "Keeping this aircraft in the fleet would involve significant costs, while the [A380] programme was suspended by Airbus earlier in 2019."

In February, Airbus disclosed a decision to discontinue the A380 programme after the last planned delivery in 2021.

Meanwhile, Air France-KLM says it is studying replacement options for A380 with long-haul twinjets.

In June, the airline group disclosed that Air France will transfer orders for six Boeing 787s to KLM and in return take orders for seven Airbus A350s, which the Dutch carrier had previously committed to, as part of a fleet optimisation effort.

Cirium's Fleet Analyzer shows that Air France has nine 787-9s in service and another one on order, alongside orders for 28 A350s, of which the first is scheduled for delivery in September.

KLM has 13 787-9s and one 787-10 in service, with a further 14 Dreamliners on order.

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