Paris, France - The Air France-KLM Group CEO Ben Smith thinks that Airbus should consider the production of A220-500, an elongated variant of the current A220-300.
Last week, Air France-KLM Group signed an order commitment for 60 Airbus A220-300 jets.
But, it seems that the Franco-Dutch Group's interest in the Airbus's A220s is not limited with the -300 variant. The Group CEO Ben Smith calls for an extended version of the aircraft.
Although the European manufacturer has no specific plans for a new addition to the A220 family, Smith said that an A220-500 would be a very good alternative to the A320neos and Boeing 737 MAXs.
The statement came during the presentation of the quarterly results of the Group.
The A220s were originally designed and produced by the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier as the CSeries. The program was bought by Airbus last year and re-branded as A220.
The Airbus A220 (formerly CSeries) is currently the only aircraft which was launched from scratch in this century. Its design and the lightweight composite materials used in the construction makes the aircraft highly efficient compared to the current short and medium-haul jetliners in service.
According to Smith, it can be easily extended by a few meters, and the airlines can benefit from this highly effective aircraft with extra room for more seats, which will be closer to the capacity of the revamped single-aisle jets of Airbus and Boeing.
Smith, therefore, sees the A220-500 as an interesting opportunity to further strengthen Air France's short and medium-haul network. There is no plan yet to order A220s for the other group partner KLM.
The A220 family consists of two models: the 35-meter-long A220-100 with room for 100 to 120 passengers in a bi-class cabin configuration, and the nearly 39-meter-long A220-300, which can accommodate around 120 to 150 passengers.