AirAsia X, the long-haul airline of the Tony Fernandes-led AirAsia Group, on Thursday said it has placed an order for 25 A330-300s Airbus planes worth $6 billion. In a release, the airline said this was the single-largest order from an airline.
Air Asia X will now have 51 Airbus in its stable after the deliveries are completed in 2015. The airline currently operates 15 A330-300s on services linking its Kuala Lumpur base to 18 destinations in Asia, Australia and Saudi Arabia. In addition to A330s, the carrier has also ordered 10 A350-XWB aircraft.
“This increases AirAsia X’s order to 51 from Airbus, supplemented by an order of six A330-300s leased from the International Lease Finance (ILFC), bringing AirAsia X’s total confirmed fleet deliveries to 57 by 2019,” the airline added. The bigger fleet will allow the airline to expand its network across the Asia-Pacific region and offer non-stop services to destinations in Europe or one-stop services to the US.
“We foresee strong market potential based on a low penetration rate of under 10% for low cost carriers in the beyond four-hour market across Asia Pacific. Hence, we estimate a market size of about 100 low cost carrier wide-bodies in the region if it grew to 35% over the next five years,” AirAsia X co-founder and director Tony Fernandes said.