AirAsia Group updated its 2021 fleet plans. The parent company of five airlines across Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and India aims to end 2021 with 235 aircraft.

AirAsia Group forecast that all its airline entities will see a gradual pick up in domestic in Q4 2021, led by the global increase in vaccination rates and relaxation of rules for air travel. The group has already noticed promising trends in its load factor, which reached 68% in Q2, 2021, compared to 59% in the same period of 2020. 

The company predicted that the “robust short-haul business model”, as well as lean operations coupled with “pent-up demand”, should ensure AirAsia Group a “quick recovery upon relaxation of travel restrictions,” the group stated in briefing slides.

“We expect to see a strong resurgence in the visiting friends and relatives as well as the leisure and spontaneous travel markets first,” AirAsia Group said.

To meet the forecast demand for air travel, the group decided to update its fleet plan. In May 2021, it estimated it would have 231 aircraft by December 2021, now the company‘s plans have changed. AirAsia Group now aims to bring back 4 aircraft, bringing the total number to 235 jets by the end of 2021.

According to the company, “two third-party leases” of unspecified type aircraft will rejoin the group’s fleet in Q4 2021. Meanwhile, another two Airbus A320 jets, which were temporarily grounded amid pandemic, will return to active operations in Q1 2022.

“Our network plans are continuously revised to reflect the latest recovery timeline following the ongoing pandemic impact,“ the group added.

However, the company will still fly 10 jets fewer than in end-2020.