AirAsia inks huge Airbus deal

AirAsia has placed a firm order for an additional 50 Airbus A320s, with a further 50 A320s on option. The contract was signed on the 8th of January 2007 by Dato’ Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia and John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer Customers of Airbus, and brings the AirAsia Group’s (Malaysia AirAsia, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia) total orders to 150 aircraft, plus 50 options.

AirAsia placed its original order for 60 Airbus A320s in March 2005, with a re-order for an additional 40 aircraft announced at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2006. The first aircraft was delivered to AirAsia in December 2005 during the Langkawi Airshow. The airline currently operates a fleet of 15 Airbus A320s on a rapidly expanding domestic and regional network.

The Airbus A320s are steadily replacing AirAsia’s old generation Boeing 737-300 fleet and are destined to do the same at Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia in the 2007 and 2008, respectively. AirAsia’s Kuala Lumpur hub will be fully operated with Airbus A320s by July 2007.

“We are very happy with the Airbus A320. The addition of the Airbus A320 to our fleet has helped AirAsia tremendously in our efforts to boost efficiency, enhance reliability, reduce costs and provide higher service levels for our guests (passengers). Our guests love the aircraft - leather seats, wider seat pitch and greater comfort. AirAsia just turned five in December 2006 and we have carried over 27 million guests to date. As we enter ‘Chapter 2’ of AirAsia, the additional order will allow us to further strengthen our route network in the region by developing our hubs in Bangkok and Jakarta, connecting more points and expanding into Indo China, Indonesia, Southern China and India. AirAsia will become the second largest A320 operator in the world by year 2012,” said Tony Fernandes.