Air France’s first Airbus A220 has left the paint shop, sporting the Air France livery, checking off another box in the airline’s commitment to renewing its fleet.
At the end of September, Air France will take delivery of the first of the 60 Airbus A220-300s it has ordered to replace its Airbus A318s and A319s on the short and medium-haul network.
The first Airbus A220 designed for Air France recently left the Airbus paint shop in Mirabel, near Montreal.A
An image released to media shows new Air France colours and, notably, the winged seahorse, the airline’s historical symbol embodying its rich history, at the front of the fuselage.
As the aircraft is made with lighter composite materials, the Airbus A220 uses 20 per cent less fuel than previous generation aircraft, and has a 34 per cent reduced noise footprint.
The company says the aircraft it will play a “decisive role” in achieving Air France's sustainable development objectives, including a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions in absolute terms on the domestic network from Paris-Orly and on inter-regional routes by 2024, and a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 2030.
Preparing for A220’s arrival
Before joining Paris to carry Air France customers, the aircraft will undergo a series of ground and in-flight tests.
On its arrival, it will be used for more than a month to train the airline's flight crews, some of whom began the so-called "type rating" process last summer.
Last September, eight instructor pilots attended an eight-week theoretical and practical training course at the Airbus training centre in Montreal.
They are currently training their colleagues – including another 28 instructors who complete the pilot launch team – notably using a Full Flight Simulator (FFS) mounted on jacks, and assembled at Air France's flight simulation centre at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
Once Air France takes delivery of the first aircraft, this simulator training will be supplemented by approximately 20 flights in real conditions, with a view to obtaining the A220-300 type rating.
Close to 700 Air France pilots will eventually be qualified on this aircraft.
The same core group system is being used for cabin crews, with 14 flight attendants trained in Zurich between September and December 2020.
They are currently finalizing the training manuals and content that they themselves will be responsible for providing as from September 2021.
The core group has selected and trained a group of 37 flight attendants to complete the practical flight training of cabin crews as soon as the A220 enters service.
Two A220 door models have been installed at the Air France Crew Academy at Paray Vieille-Poste, near Paris-Orly, to train some 2,500 flight attendants.
The Air France Airbus A220 will be able to welcome 148 passengers in a 3-2 cabin configuration.
Each seat will be equipped with type A and type C USB ports and all passengers will enjoy Wi-Fi access from their personal devices.
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