TheAirbus A380 was a bet on the evolution of the airline sector and the expected strong increase in passenger traffic, requiring large aircraft that can take hundreds of people over long distances.
The cost of this giant of the air, the need to have infrastructures adapted for its generous dimensions but also the technical problems and breakdowns and the economic context were however right of the program whose cycle was shortened well before the envisaged period and the number of aircraft produced remained well below estimates.
In Air Franceit had been decided to maintain a reduced fleet of Airbus A380s by renovating the cabins. An expensive but more reasonable choice than maintaining an extended fleet.
Air France President Ben Smith has however decided to review the strategy in the light of recent cancellations of the latest Airbus A380 orders by various airlines by announcing the exit from the fleet 10 Air France A380 Airbus for 2022.
Instead, it's a firm order for 60 Airbus A220-300 which is announced and replaces the current A318 and A319, with the first deliveries in September 2021.
Air France puts forward with these new aircraft a CO2 emission reduced by 20% and an operation half as noisy, for short and medium-haul flights.
This decision is to the detriment of theA320 Neo, more expensive and less suited to the needs of Air France on short trips and it will not really benefit the French assembly plants since the A220 are actually Canadian and built by Bombardier.
The company says that "the current competitive environment limits the markets on which the A380 can be operated profitably"and that the aircraft consumes" 20 to 25% more fuel per seat than new generation long-haul aircraft "while emitting more CO2.
Upgrading and renovating the Airbus A380 represents a significant cost whose interest is called into question "even though the program of this plane was stopped by the manufacturer in 2019".
Who then to replace the Airbus A380? Air France says only study a replacement by "new generation aircraft now available on the market" but the newspaper The gallery suggests that this would be played between the Boeing B787 and the Airbus A330 Neo, the A350 model remaining too expensive.