Paris, 23 June 2011
AirAsia, named the World's Best Low Cost Airline by Skytrax for three consecutive years, today placed a firm order for 200 Airbus A320neo aircraft, becoming the world's largest airline customer of Airbus in history.
AirAsia placed the order, worth US$18.5 billion, at the Paris Air Show. The order is the largest ever Airbus deal by number of aircraft as well as the largest ever order for aircraft in the A320 family.
AirAsia is now the world's biggest airline customer for the A320 family with an order for 375 aircraft to date. So far, 89 A320s have been delivered.
AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes and Mr Tom Enders, President & CEO of Airbus were present to sign the purchase agreement during the ceremony, witnessed by YB. Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Chairman of AirAsia X, Dato' Kamarudin Meranun, Deputy Group CEO of AirAsia Berhad and Mr John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer-Customers, Airbus. The delivery of the 200 A320neo aircraft is expected to start from year 2016 through 2026.
The Airbus A320neo with new engines and large wing tip devices called sharklets, will deliver fuel savings of up to 15percent and additional range capability of 500 nautical miles (approximately 950km), or the ability to carry two tonnes more payload at a given range. The A320neo is more environmentally friendly as the fuel savings translate into some 3,600 tonnes less CO2 per aircraft per year, as well as reductions in engine noise. The new A320neo will lower operating costs for AirAsia as well.
Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia Berhad commented, "AirAsia is now the largest airline customer of Airbus. We were surprised to learn this, but we are proud of how far we've come in less than ten years of operations. This is an important milestone in our growth, and this solidifies our position as the world's best low-cost airline. The new order is to cater to expansion plans in the Philippines, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. We have the capacity to take up to 500 aircraft. AirAsia has been hugely successful, increasing its annual passenger volume from 200,000 when we launched it as a low-cost airline in 2001 to an estimated 31 million this year."
"With the introduction of the Airbus A320neo, AirAsia guests can look forward to more exciting routes from AirAsia as we can now explore more destinations with the enhanced range presented by the new-gen aircraft. We always believe in embracing technological advancements, and this new generation of Airbus A320neo aircraft will put us ahead of the competition and continue to be frontrunners in the volatile aviation industry," added Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes.
He also said, "This confirmation of order for 200 Airbus A320neo aircraft is in line with our rapid expansion plans and our long term vision to grow our associates throughout the region. We know that we have made the right choice in utilizing these new aircraft, especially in times of rising fuel costs. The Airbus A320neo aircraft will enable savings of approximately 15% in fuel consumption per annum per aircraft. With the utilization of the new and enhanced Airbus A320neo with its large sharklets wing tip devices that boosts fuel efficiency, AirAsia will be able to reduce our carbon footprint, and also our operating costs, thus enabling us to continue to champion low fares and spur air travel throughout the region."
Tom Enders, President and CEO of Airbus said, "In less than 10 years, AirAsia has established itself as one of the fastest-growing, innovative and most respected airlines in the business. This landmark deal is the strongest endorsement yet of our decision to invest in the development of the A320neo and further consolidates the market leading position of the Airbus single aisle product line."
AirAsia's Airbus A320 aircraft are utilized on routes of up to 4 hours throughout AirAsia's extensive route network covering 130 routes and 63 destinations in South East Asia, China, India and Australia via Bali, Indonesia.
AirAsia is currently the world's largest operator of the Airbus A320 aircraft with 175 aircraft order placed in December 2007. AirAsia's A320 aircraft order with Airbus now totals 375 aircraft, with 89 Airbus A320s already delivered.