KLM is about to place a big order with aircraft manufacturer Airbus. Bloomberg news agency sources reported this. The potential deal would be a major blow to US rival Boeing, which usually supplies several aircraft to KLM and its Transavia subsidiary.
It is an order of 160 single-aisle aircraft, a central-aisle-only aircraft suitable for medium distances. Parent company Air France KLM wants to modernize its fleet.
According to the sources, no final decision has been made yet, and KLM and Transavia could also select the Boeing 737 MAX. A decision may be made later this week. Earlier, Reuters news agency reported that KLM prefers the Airbus A321. According to Air France-KLM, no decision has yet been made. Boeing and Airbus declined to comment.
Airbus could use such a large order for the A321 that many suppliers are wondering aloud if there is enough demand for the plane. Transavia and KLM currently fly a lot with Boeing 737s. Air France-KLM had already indicated the possibility of a new order split.
One of the advantages of the A321, the largest aircraft in the A320neo family, is that it can seat more than 230 passengers. The plane can also fly farther than a similar Boeing. The additional seating will enable KLM to bring more people to and from Amsterdam, where the device could also be a solution to Schiphol’s shortage.
The return of the Boeing 737 Max, which had to be grounded for an extended period after two accidents, has given Americans the lead this year in the race for orders among the largest aircraft manufacturers.
Last year, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Air France could be a good customer for Airbus. It happened after Paris saved the airline from bankruptcy with a crisis support package. France is now the largest shareholder in Air France-KLM with a 29 percent stake.
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