Posted on: 18 December 2013 by Mark Howells
AirAsia X has placed a firm order for 25 more A330-300s with Airbus, the world’s largest single order in a single purchase agreement by an airline for the type.
This increases AirAsia X’s order to 51 from Airbus, supplemented by an order for six A330-300s leased from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), bringing AirAsia X’s total confirmed fleet deliveries to 57 by 2019.
The carrier will start taking delivery of its newly-ordered A330-300s in 2015 as it begins a major expansion of its network across the Asia-Pacific region. The new order includes the latest extended range versions of the A330-300, providing the airline with the ability to offer non-stop service to destinations in Europe or one-stop service to the US.
The agreement was signed by Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X and Fabrice Bregier, president and CEO of Airbus and witnessed by Tony Fernandes, co-founder and director of AirAsia X and John Leahy, chief operating officer–customers, Airbus.
“This order stamps our firm intent to dominate the long-haul, low-cost carrier space and marks the next phase in our development to be the undisputed global market leader,” Fernandes remarked. “Our commitment would allow us to remain as the youngest widebody fleet age in the region at under five years throughout 2019, with corresponding competitive fuel efficiency, reliability and cabin comfort benefits. We foresee strong market potential based on a low penetration rate of under 10% for low-cost carriers in the beyond 4 hour market across Asia-Pacific. Hence, we estimate a market size of about 100 low-cost carrier wide-bodies in the region if it grew to 35% over the next five years.”
“The aircraft orders would further cater to our 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 AirAsia 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,” Fernandes added.
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 also has 10 A350-XWB aircraft on order for future delivery.