Air France-KLM puts out tender for 160 planes: Report

THE HAGUE: Air France-KLM has asked Boeing and Airbus to submit tenders for 160 new planes, potentially making it the largest order ever placed by the company, a Dutch media report has said.

The Franco-Dutch aviation alliance was negotiating a joint order to replace its medium-haul fleet at budget airline Transavia as well as Dutch national carrier KLM, company chief Ben Smith said on Sunday.

The order could be “the largest in the history of the group”, he told the Financieele Dagblad.

“The Air France-KLM Group has launched a call for tenders to renew and grow the medium-haul fleets of KLM and Transavia,“ a company official confirmed to AFP, but stressed it has not placed an order.

Airbus declined to comment.

In another aviation sector development, Irish no-frills airline Ryanair unveiled plans on Monday to hire more than 2,000 additional pilots as it navigates a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The pilots will fly Ryanair's planned new fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which are aimed at cutting costs, fuel consumption, noise and CO2 emissions, the Dublin-based carrier added in a statement.

Ryanair had in May posted an annual net loss of €1 billion (RM4.97 billion) as the Covid grounded the global aviation sector and ravaged travel demand, but the airline is now charting a path to recovery.

“As we take delivery of more than 210 Boeing 737-8200 ... aircraft, Ryanair will recruit 2,000-plus pilots over the next three years to fill positions created by this growth,“ said Ryanair human resources director Darrell Hughes.

He added: “Throughout the pandemic, Ryanair has worked closely with our people to save jobs and we are delighted to start planning for a return to growth over the coming years as we recover from the Covid-19 crisis and grow to 200 million guests by 2024.”

Back in December, the Irish airline signed a deal for 75 Boeing 737 MAX jets. That took Ryanair's total order to 210 MAX aircraft with a total value of more than US$22 billion (RM92 billion), and which are to be delivered over a four-year period to 2024.

The December announcement marked Boeing's first major order for the 737 MAX since it was grounded for almost two years after fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019. – AFP