PARIS: The world leading low-cost carrier, AirAsia will be upsizing its future Airbus single-aisle fleet by converting 253 orders for the A320neo for the larger A321neo version.
AirAsia Group Bhd executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said the upsizing will enable AirAsia to offer higher capacity in response to ongoing strong demand across its network.
“We have spent some years reviewing what the future of our operations will look like and we are proud to become the world’s largest customer for the A321neo.
“With its numerous efficiency benefits and the operational flexibility this aircraft brings, the A321neo will be the new backbone of our operations as we continue to expand to meet growing air travel demand across Asia,” he said in a statement after signing the agreement for the purchase of 200 engine units of LEAP-1A, to power the airline’s 100 Airbus A321neo from CFM International.
He said it would need two engine units to power each of the A321neo aircraft.
Signing on behalf of CFM International was its president and chief executive officer Gaël Méheust.
In total, AirAsia has placed orders for 592 of the A320 family aircraft.
Following the upsizing, AirAsia will become the world’s largest customer for the A321neo with 353 aircraft on order.
AirAsia currently has 230 units of the A320 family aircraft in service, flying out of its hubs in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan.
The A321neo would have a maximum capacity of 244 seats compared to AirAsia’s existing A320 (180 seats) or A320neo (186 seats) fleet.
“It will allow our existing A320 and A320neo pilots to fly the aircraft type without additional training.
“Besides, the A321neo will deliver a 20 per cent more fuel efficiency,” it added.
In a separate statement, CFM International said AirAsia has also expanded its 20-year Rate-Per-Flight-Hour (RPFH) agreement to encompass its entire fleet of 808 LEAP-1A engines for a combined total value of $23.1 billion at list price.
Under the agreement, CFM Services guarantees maintenance costs for the AirAsia’s LEAP-1A engines on a dollar per engine flight hour basis.
AirAsia has been a CFM customer for almost 20 years and is the single largest Airbus A320 operator in the world. – Bernama