The largest and leading low-cost carrier in Southeast Asia, AirAsia has placed the largest order of a total of 225 A320s, making it the biggest operator for the aircraft in the world. The latest contract for an additional 25 A320s together with a further 25 A320s on option, brings AirAsia Group’s (Malaysia AirAsia, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia) total orders to 175 firm orders and 50 purchase options.
The contract was signed today at the Langkawi Airshow by Dato’ Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Berhad and John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer - Customers of Airbus. The ceremony was witnessed by YAB Dato’ Sri Najib bin Tun Hj. Abdul Razak, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.
AirAsia placed its original order for 60 A320s in March 2005, with re-orders for an additional 40 aircraft announced at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2006 and another 50 aircraft in January 2007. The first aircraft was delivered to AirAsia in December 2005 and currently AirAsia is operating with 31 A320s on a rapidly expanding domestic and regional network.
It is noteworthy to highlight that AirAsia’s Kuala Lumpur hub is one hundred percent operating with A320s and a combined fleet size of 64 aircraft. The new set of order is expected to completely replace Thai AirAsia’s and Indonesia AirAsia’s current fleet of Boeing 737 by 2008. Thai AirAsia has recently added two brand new A320s, the first one received on 21st October 2007 and the second on 10th November 2007.
“This purchase is an important step for us at AirAsia as it signifies our future aggressive route expansion plans in tandem to our expected traffic growth over the next decade. As the winner of CAPA Airline of the Year 2007, we are proud of this purchase as it further demonstrates our commitment to enhance AirAsia’s position on our networks by incorporating the most modern and efficient aircraft in the market. The addition of the aircraft will be used to add frequency across the route network, introduce new routes and gradually replace the current fleet of Boeing 737 in Thailand and Indonesia. Reputed for its high reliability and low operating costs, the inception of A320s has indeed enhanced our efficiency level to greater heights. This is evident as on time performance has improved tremendously to an average of 85% from the Kuala Lumpur hub this year. AirAsia’s introduction to the aviation industry as an innovator has grown to the extent it is now a leader that sets the benchmark to others” said Dato’ Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia Bhd.
“We have been extremely proud to be part of AirAsia’s outstanding success and delighted that the confidence in the A320 has resulted in the airline now becoming the largest airline customer for this aircraft in the world. With its unbeatable economics and enormous passenger appeal, I am confident that the large A320 fleet is destined to propel AirAsia to the forefront of industry in the years ahead,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer - Customers.
The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly by wire controls and all share unique cockpit commonality across the range. Over 5,500 Airbus A320 Family have been sold and over 3200 delivered to more than 200 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world’s best selling commercial jetliner ever.
With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family offers the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. In addition, the latest new cabin design saves on weight and offers the passenger a quieter and roomier experience as well as significantly larger overhead stowage lockers.
Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerised cargo system, which is compatible with the worldwide standard wide-body system.