As the year comes to an end, Air France is getting ready to launch the second wave of its Best programme, with the cabin reconfiguring and refitting of its Airbus A330-200 fleet. The first of the fifteen aircraft is due to will be entrusted to Air France Industries in December and will return to service in mid-January, first of all to Ouagadougou then to Houston and Dallas. Seattle will also be served by A330s from April 2019 (in the current configuration initially, then the new cabin will be deployed from the end of the month). All the A330s will be refitted by the end of 2019.
At the moment, Air France's A330-200s are equipped with a 208-seat cabin, shared between 40 seats in business class, 21 in Premium Economy and 147 in economy class. With the new cabin, the configuration should be more dense and increased to 224 seats, still in three-class configuration. The space given over to business class will be reduced to accommodate 36 seats. Their supplier will be changing, with Stelia being preferred to Zodiac Aerospace this time. Zodiac Aerospace will still be providing the Premium Economy seats, which will be the same as the seating adopted on Air France 787 aircraft, with a few updates, and the Economy seating, the Z300 in a modernised version and slightly expanded compared to the Best (777) and 787 cabin variant.
This refit is slightly different from what was announced in April 2016, when Air France was planning a 226-seat cabin - 30 in business class, 21 in Premium Economy and 175 in economy class.
Note that Zodiac will also be supplying the IFEC system (with Rave 2) and a Wi-Fi connectivity will be proposed on the retrofitted aircraft. In addition, Latécoère, via its Interconnection systems division, has won the contract to supply the wiring for the upgrades.
This is the airline's second fleet to be upgraded as part of the Best & Beyond programme which was launched in 2015. The upgrade began wit the retrofitting of 44 of the airlines Triple Sevens (the 25 777-200ERs and 19 777-300ERs), a task which took Air France's teams three years to complete. The last refitted 777 was returned to service in July 2017.
While the timetable shifted a year for the A330s, the schedule is now set, along with the rest of the operations to be carried out. After the A330s, it will be the turn of the 777s intended for the Caribbean-Indian Ocean to be refitted.
Seattle will also be served by A330s from April 2019 (in the current configuration initially, then the new cabin will be deployed from the end of the month).