AirAsia remains eager to take all the Airbus orders it had committed to despite those deliveries stalled due to ongoing pandemic, hinted AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes.
Although the main airline’s market in Southeast Asia was heavily affected by the virus, AirAsia Group does not give up on its plan to expand the fleet by adding 349 Airbus A321neos and 13 Airbus A320neo jets.
Speaking to the Foreign Correspondents Association of Singapore, the CEO of the company outlined that currently the airline was focused on taking “every single great plane, the A321”. Discussions with the manufacturer “have been great”, Fernandes said, meaning that none of the changes in the large order are anticipated so far.
However, the head of Asia’s biggest budget airline, which is one of the largest Airbus customers, was careful when asked about the potential delivery slots.
“It’s hard to talk about delivery slots because we are not even flying,” Fernandes said, adding that an unidentified amount of brand new jets may arrive by the end of 2022. The new jets will replace older planes of all subsidiary air carriers of the group.
Aircraft deliveries of the huge Airbus order were put on halt in April 2020. Because of quarantines and travel restrictions, as well as the impact of unfavorable fuel hedges, led AirAsia to massively ground its fleet at the time. Based on the current list prices, the highly awaited delivery of A321neo and A320neo planes would be worth around $46 billion.
AirAsia, the main Malaysian arm of AirAsia Group, is an all-Airbus air carrier with 97 jets, 87 out of which are currently grounded, the data of Planespotters.com indicates. The airline posted around $70.5 million revenue for Q1 2021, which was higher by 12% quarter-on-quarter but significantly declined, by 87%, year-on-year due to the lockdown imposed by the government of Malaysia since January 2021.
Having taken the very first Airbus A321neo jet in February 2019, AirAsia launched the A321neo services in January 2020.