PARIS: AirAsia X, the long-haul, low-fare affiliate of AirAsia Group, has placed the largest single airline firm orders for 25 more A330-300s with Airbus valued at US$6 billion.
These increase AirAsia X’s orders to 51 from Airbus, supplemented by orders of six A330-300s leased from the International Lease Finance Corp, bringing its total confirmed fleet deliveries to 57 by 2019.
AirAsia X will start taking delivery of its A330-300s in 2015 as it begins a major expansion of its network across Asia-Pacific.
The new orders include the latest extended range versions of the A330-300, providing the carrier with the ability to offer non-stop services to destinations in Europe or one-stop services to the US.
Co-founder/Director of AirAsia X, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, said the orders showed the company's firm intent to dominate the long-haul, low-cost carrier space.
"Our commitment would allow us to remain as the youngest wide-bodied fleet in the region at under five years throughout 2019, with corresponding competitive fuel efficiency, reliability and cabin comfort benefits," he said at the signing ceremony with Airbus for the purchase order here today.
Fernandes said the aircraft orders would further cater to expansion plans in Malaysia, and the proposed new Thai AirAsia X hub as well as other long-haul ventures planned across Asia.
"The developments will complement the group's long-term vision of developing its presence in key markets in Asia and strengthen the connectivity between long-haul and short-haul low-cost network," he said.
AirAsia X currently operates 15 A330-300s on services linking its Kuala Lumpur base to 18 destinations in Asia, Australia and Saudi Arabia.
In addition to A330s, the carrier has 10 A350-XWB aircraft on order for future delivery.
The latest orders from AirAsia X further consolidate the position of the AirAsia Group as one of Airbus’ largest airline customers in the world.
In total, the group has now ordered 536 aircraft from the manufacturer.
These include 475 A320 Family single-aisle aircraft for AirAsia’s short-haul operations based out of Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila, plus the 51 A330s and 10 A350 XWBs for AirAsia X.
Meanwhile, President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airbus, Farbrice Brégier, said the A330 was the perfect platform for such operations, with the lowest operating costs, true long range flying capability and a proven track record track of exceptional technical reliability.
"We look forward to working with AirAsia X as it continues to innovate in the low-cost long-haul market," he said.
CEO of AirAsia X, Azran Osman-Rani, and Brégier signed the agreement.
Also present were Fernandes and Chief Operating Officer, Customers of Airbus, John Leahy.
The signing ceremony took place at the Shangri-La Hotel here, attended by Airbus and AirAsia X representatives and members of the media. -- BERNAMA