Air France to choose between Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 to replace its superjumbos

Paris, France - Air France-KLM Group CEO Ben Smith revealed his new strategic plan to improve profitability. The fleet renewal of Group partners is one of them.

On Nov. 5, Air France-KLM Group chief executive Ben Smith presented to investors the five-year strategic plan of the company named "Go Forward".

Air France has already started to renew its fleet and has concluded agreements with its pilots. These two elements must contribute to the recovery of Air France, Smith said.

After a wave of strikes in 2018, the airline lost around 335 million euros ($373 million) because of its grounded flights.

Air France will also choose between the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 in the coming weeks to replace its aging Airbus A380s.

The French carrier exchanged its Boeing 787s on order with the A350-900s of the other Group partner KLM before.

On Sept. 27, the airline received its very first Airbus A350-900. This is the first copy of an order for 28 A350-900 in total that will be delivered by 2025.

Air France will focus onto premium flights, a segment that the French operator is more powerful, while KLM will be positioned as a competitive network operator of connecting flights through Schipol.

Smith said that operating an airline in France is not easy due to the higher airport taxes than elsewhere in the world. According to Smith, French authorities should make the air transport market more competitive in the country.

The French carrier is facing another high-cost risk linked in particular to a new ecological tax that will come into effect in 2020.

The Franco-Dutch Group aims to reduce its operating costs while accelerating the renewal of its fleets to become more flexible in managing the combined Air France-KLM fleet of more than 500 aircraft.