AirAsia is currently discussing a new wide-body aircraft order with Airbus, as revealed by Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A, the airline’s parent company.
The Malaysian entrepreneur shared some details of AirAsia’s growth plans in an interview with Channel NewsAsia presenter Roland Lim on September 14, 2023, during the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore.
Fernandes said that Airbus is the preferred choice for this order, which is still subject to board approval, although Boeing has also been invited to submit a bid.
AirAsia is a long-time Airbus customer, and its entire commercial fleet is made up of aircraft supplied by the European manufacturer.
Data collected by ch-aviation shows AirAsia has currently 362 A321neo aircraft on order, with deliveries planned up until 2035, while AirAsia X, the group’s medium and long-haul subsidiary is awaiting the delivery of 20 A320 and 15 A330-900neos.
The optimistic tone of Fernandes’ statements is in line with similar recent statements he has made, highlighting the strong recovery of air travel demand in Asia, particularly following the opening of China’s borders for overseas travel. As such, Air Asia’s group of airlines plans to increase the capacity it offers to and from China and expects to launch flights to new destinations in China in the near future.
For instance, Fernandes said at ASEAN Business and Investment Summit on September 4, 2023, that AirAsia’s Indonesian subsidiary would almost treble its fleet in the next four years, from 25 to 78 aircraft.
In this latest TV interview, Fernandes also discussed his vision of a multi-hub network across the ASEAN nations that, in terms of providing international connectivity, should rival established global hubs such as Dubai (DXB) or Doha (DOH).
Fernandes also highlighted the increase in ancillary revenue, singling out travel insurance as a driver of growth and the fact that investments in data services and AI technology are paying off.
Indeed, the group’s strategy in recent years has been to diversify away from the airline business in an attempt to become a provider of a wide range of tech-enabled services. By 2022, this reached the point that the parent company was rebranded as Capital A to reflect its new approach.