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Air France to place big order for A220 jets: French weekly

Paris

AIR FRANCE will this week announce plans to purchase between 50 and 70 Canadian-made Airbus A220 medium-haul jetliners, part of a keenly awaited revamp of its fleet, France's Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported on Sunday.

Air France's board is expected to confirm the huge order on Tuesday, a day before the carrier publishes its results for the first half of 2019.

It could include an option on "other aircraft of the same type" but contrary to previous speculation is not expected to include any of Airbus's popular narrow-body A320neo jets, the Journal du Dimanche reported.

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No estimate was given for the value of the deal. Air France refused to confirm the order, saying that "no decision has been taken at this stage". Airbus refused to comment.

The A220 was known as the Bombardier C Series before Airbus bought a majority share in the loss-making aircraft last year and rebranded it. Assembled in the Canadian province of Quebec, it can carry between 100 and 150 passengers and has a range of more than 6,000 kilometres.

Benjamin Smith, who became the first non-French chief executive of Air France-KLM last year, is also Canadian. He is on a drive to cut the carrier's costs and help it compete against low-cost rivals by closing or reducing loss-making short-haul routes and making use of smaller aircraft. AFP