Proudly (not) All Boeing: Images of KLM’s first A321neo unveiled

Martin Romero

The First Airbus A321 neo for KLM is assembled and ready for its first test flight: images were shared by Ton de Geest, KLM’s A320neo Fleet Manager, on LinkedIn.

As seen in the photos, the aircraft is fully assembled and awaiting the installation of the CFM LEAP-1A engines. In 2021, the KLM-Air France Group placed an order for 100 aircraft from the Airbus A320 neo family, with an option for 60 more.

This order is part of the fleet renewal for the airlines within the group. The first A321 neo from this order was delivered to Transavia, while the first A320 neo is part of the Transavia France fleet.

KLM-Air France announced that it planned for the KLM A321 neo to enter service during the third quarter of 2024. Judging by the images, it appears that the delivery and service entry timeline is on track as planned.

A Hard Blow to Boeing

The addition of the Airbus A320 neo family to KLM’s fleet marks a significant setback for Boeing. Throughout its history, the Dutch airline has operated all three generations of the Boeing 737 family.

The KLM Boeing 737-200 entered service in 1987 and was retired in 1995, making way for the Classic series. From the second generation of the 737, the airline operated the 737-300 and 737–400 models, which entered service in 1986 and 1989 respectively, and were retired in 2011.

The 737 Classic series was succeeded by the 737 Next Generation, with KLM operating the 737-700, 737-800, and 737–900 models. The 737 NG series was introduced in 1999, with the first aircraft being a 737-800 registered as PH-BXA.

The new Airbus A321 neo aircraft will end the long-standing presence of narrow-body Boeing aircraft in KLM’s fleet.

Primer Airbus A321 neo de KLM
Primer Airbus A321 neo de KLM

Another blow for Boeing is the decision by the KLM-Air France Group to order 50 Airbus A350 aircraft to replace their older A330 and Boeing 777 models. With this order, the only Boeing aircraft that will remain in the group’s fleet is the 787 Dreamliner.

Airbus and KLM

KLM has never operated a narrow-body Airbus aircraft, opting instead to acquire some of their wide-body models.

The Dutch airline currently operates 11 Airbus A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft. In the past, KLM had a few Airbus A310 aircraft in its fleet, which were in service from 1983 to 1997.

According to data from Planespotters, there are already four Airbus A321 neo aircraft pending delivery, with registrations PH-AXA, PH-AXB, PH-AXC, and PH-AXD.

KLM currently has a fleet of 107 aircraft, composed of:

  • 6 Airbus A330-200;
  • 5 Airbus A330-300;
  • 6 Boeing 737-700;
  • 31 Boeing 737-800;
  • 5 Boeing 737-900;
  • 15 Boeing 777-200
  • 16 Boeing 777-300ER;
  • 13 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner;
  • 10 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner.

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