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Air France-KLM doubles order for Airbus A350 freighters

Company accelerates replacement of aging KLM 747 jets

Artists rendering of an Airbus A350 freighter. (Image: Airbus)

Air France-KLM said Friday it will order four additional A350 widebody freighters from Airbus. 

The planes will be operated by subsidiary cargo airline Martinair on behalf of Dutch carrier KLM and will replace four Boeing 747 cargo jets currently operated by KLM Cargo and Martinair. The planes will be based at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, the company said.

Deliveries to Air France-KLM-Martinair are expected in the second half of 2026.

Last April, Air France-KLM finalized an order for four A350 freighters, a new product from Airbus that is scheduled to enter service with Qatar Airways in late 2025. Those planes will be operated by Air France from its hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport.

The decision boosts Airbus in its competition with Boeing in the large freighter market. Boeing is developing the 777-8 as a modern replacement for existing 777 models that will be phased out of production by 2028. Airbus now has 35 firm commitments for the A350 freighter.

The twin-engine A350 gives up some cargo space to the quad-engine 747, but is substantially more fuel efficient.

“Fleet renewal is an important part of KLM’s ambition to become more sustainable. We want to emit less CO2 because of the climate and reduce noise for local residents. The A350F reduces CO2 by over 40% and noise by 50% compared to its predecessors. That is why we decided to place this order earlier than originally planned,” said KLM CEO Marjan Rintel. “Instead of in 2027, we will replace the freighters from autumn 2026..

Air France said it will also purchase three additional A350-900 passenger jets to replace previous generation aircraft.

(Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly had a lower figure for total orders so far.)

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In December 2022, he was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]