With international and domestic travel put on hold as the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the world, some airlines were forced to ground their huge portion of their fleets. AirAsia, a Malaysia-based low-cost carrier with several subsidiaries in neighboring countries, was no exception to the rule. On March 26, 2020, the airline announced that it hibernated most of the group’s fleet, with Tony Fernandes, the group’s chief executive, later indicating that AirAsia grounded 96% of its aircraft. As the group’s airlines look to resume domestic flights in their respective countries, however, the group remains skeptical regarding growth and Airbus is now forced to sell six of AirAsia’s not taken up aircraft.
As a problem of cash flow has struck the airline, AirAsia has not taken up six Airbus A320 family aircraft: four A320neo and two A321neo jets that the manufacturer is now forced to sell, reported Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter. The aircraft are available to be picked up from France and Germany in June, stated the report.
Planespotter.net data indicates that AirAsia has four A320neo frames that have been built: Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 9516, previously destined to Thai AirAsia and currently located in Hamburg, Germany, with three remaining A320neos located in Toulouse, France. MSN 10037 and MSN 10079 were supposed to join AirAsia’s fleet, while MSN 9566 was bound to AirAsia Japan.
Nevertheless, the low-cost carrier is looking to resume flights as soon as next week. An announcement on April 17, 2020, indicated that AirAsia’s main company in Malaysia will resume domestic flights starting April 29. Subsidiaries in Thailand and the Philippines will do so starting May 1, while the branch in India will resume domestic operations on May 4, 2020. These plans, however, are still preliminary, as all three subsidiaries are waiting for the green light from their civil aviation authorities.
AirAsia Indonesia will be the last to resume domestic operations from May 7, 2020, while the long-haul low-cost brand AirAsia X is set to be grounded indefinitely, as it only operates international routes.
The airline planned to add 11 aircraft in total in 2020, indicated its latest financial report.