AirAsia inks deal for Airbus expansion

AirAsia has mandated Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays PLC, to finance 15 of its new Airbus A320-200 aircraft.The financing will bring AirAsia’s total fleet to 85 aircraft by early 2010, operated by Malaysia-based AirAsia Berhad and its affiliates Indonesia AirAsia and Thai AirAsia. So far 3 aircraft have been delivered under this facility since 31 December 2008, with the support of the Export Credit Agencies of the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

A signing ceremony was held in London on Monday to formalise the facility, attended by AirAsia Berhad, Barclays Capital, Airbus and BayernLB.

Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO said, “AirAsia is very pleased to have secured this financing from Barclays Capital which represents part of the financing that we have secured for our Airbus A320 aircraft purchases for the next couple of years. This is crucial in ensuring that AirAsia meets its projected expansion growth. We are working very hard to secure rights to fly to more destinations, which will only be possible with deliveries of the new aircraft.”

AirAsia operates over 114 routes covering more than 64 destinations. Within 7 years of operations, AirAsia has carried over 55 million passengers and grown its fleet from just two aircraft in 2001.

AirAsia’s low cost long haul carrier affiliate, AirAsia X, will soon commence service between Kuala Lumpur and London (Stansted), in addition to its existing routes to Australia (Melbourne, Perth and Gold Coast) and China (Hangzhou and Tianjin).

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AirAsia became the largest airline customer in the world of the Airbus A320-200, after placing a firm order for a total of 175 aircraft in December 2007, with the option for 50 more. Deliveries are expected to run until 2014.

“This transaction is the culmination of a close long-standing relationship between AirAsia Berhad and Barclays Capital. Our focus is on meeting our clients’ needs, especially in the most challenging conditions. We are proud to support AirAsia and Airbus in the financing of these aircraft and assist the airline in achieving its ambitious growth plans,” said Arnaud Fiscel, Head of Aviation at Barclays Capital in London.
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