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Air France-KLM agrees to buy $12 billion worth of new jets

September 16, 2011 |  9:07 am

AirFrance

Air France-KLM, the largest European airline, has agreed to purchase 50 fuel-efficient long-range jets at a book value of $12 billion from the world’s two largest makers of commercial aircraft.

The airline will purchase 25 of Chicago-based Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliners and 25 Toulouse, France-based Airbus A-350s. In a press release, Air France-KLM said it had an option to buy up to 60 more.

Both planes have yet to enter service.

The first 787 is set to be delivered to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways next week, and Airbus hopes to have the A-350 ready by mid-decade.

The planes are made of composite materials (carbon fibers meshed together with epoxy) instead of aluminum sheets, which the jet makers say will require less maintenance than the current generation of aircraft because it will involve fewer parts and sustain less corrosion.

Also, the planes’ newly developed engines promise to burn less fuel than jetliners of similar size, both of which seat between 200 and 350 people.

“These new aircraft will reduce fuel consumption by over 15% and will give rise to a significant reduction in noise and gas emissions,” Air France-KLM said in a statement.

Peter Hartman, president and chief executive KLM, added: “Their integration into the fleet will enable the group to continue to operate one of the youngest and most modern fleets in the world.”

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-- W.J. Hennigan

twitter.com/wjhenn

Photo: Air France Airbus A-319. Credit: Air France

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