Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  

Air France plans to buy Boeing 777s

Air France said Friday it plans to replace part of its aging fleet of cargo planes with Boeing's new 777 freighter version.

Air France would not comment on a report in financial daily La Tribune that the carrier is about to become Boeing Co.'s launch customer for the 777 freighter by ordering seven of the new planes.

But a spokesman for the airline confirmed that the 777 freighter, which enters service in 2008, is the favoured option to replace its eight Boeing 747-200s.

"These planes are being taken out of service progressively and replaced with new planes," Jean-Claude Couturier said. "For freight, it's the 777 that we're interested in."

Air France --now part of Air France-KLM SA, the world's largest airline--is also looking to replace its four larger 747-400ERF freighters, and European aircraft maker Airbus will be keen to push its mammoth A380--whose cargo version also enters service in 2008.