Air Asia CEO eyes additional A320s to fill gap until A320neo arrives

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Published: May 29, 2012

EADS CEO Louis Gallois and Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes. By Kurt Hofmann

Malyasia’s fast-growing low-cost carrier AirAsia (AK) is considering ordering more Airbus A320s until its A320neo aircraft arrive, CEO Tony Fernandes told ATW on the sidelines of Airbus Innovation Days in Toulouse, where he took delivery of the carrier’s 100th A320.

AK ended last year’s Paris Air Show with a massive order for 200 A320neos, which should be available from 2015 (ATW Daily News, June 24, 2011).

Fernandes told ATW he “has a sense to advance our order” but questions whether to buy or lease more A320s “because I don’t think our 175 aircraft are enough until the neo comes,” Fernandes said.

In December, AK will take delivery of an A320 manufactured at the Chinese Airbus facility in Tianjin, becoming the first non-Chinese carrier to receive an A320 from this facility.

Fernandes confirmed the airline will do a come-back to Europe when the A350-1000 arrives in 2015. “Hopefully it is not delayed,” he said.

AK transports about 33 million passengers annually. “We have an 80% load factor and added 12% capacity last year. We operate 720 daily flights within the system excluding Air Asia X,” Fernandes said. 

Regarding growth opportunities, he said AK will add flights to Jeddah. “I think the Maghreb area is very good for us, like Libya or Egypt. We are looking at Baghdad. There are many places to go,” he said.

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