Air Asia Phils. weighs A321neos for fleet

Published November 25, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Emmie V. Abadilla

HAMBURG, Germany – Air Asia Philippines is finalizing its own plans to buy a A321neo (new engine option) for its fleet after Airbus delivered the first of the Air Asia Group’s 353 aircraft on order to Malaysia last November 20.
Earlier this year, AirAsia converted 253 orders for the A320neo to the larger A321neo version, with a total of 353 aircraft on order, making the airline one of the world’s largest customer for the A321neo.

First delivery of Airbus A321neo to AirAsia
First delivery of Airbus A321neo to AirAsia

“AirAsia Philippines is still concretizing plans to purchase an A321neo,” confirmed Ricky P. Isla, AirAsia Philippines CEO.

However, “As one AirAsia, we always work towards efficiency in our operations, better guest experience, and more affordable fares. The delivery of the A321neo will prove to be beneficial for us in achieving these goals in the long run.”

“While we continue to achieve our operational goals with our existing 24 A320s, investing in newer additional aircraft will be advantageous for any airline in a slot-constrained environment,” he acknowledged.

“The A321 provides 50 more seats compared to the A320. This means opportunities for us to offer even lower fares to flying guests,” Isla pointed out.

For this reason, the A321 will be the future backbone of the arline’s fleet, according to Matthew Glaus, AirAsia senior manager for aircraft planning and evaluation.

“This aircraft will be rolled across all of our AOCs (air operator’s certificate) moving forward over the next few years,” he explained.

“In the Philippines, we see a big potential because we see constraints in Manila in terms of number of aircraft operating. If we want to grow in this sort of market, we need a bigger aircraft because we cannot add anymore flights.”

AirAsia officially welcomed the future of its single-aisle fleet with the arrival of its first Airbus A321neo aircraft in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Friday (Nov. 22, 2019).

The A321neos will eventually replace the existing fleet of A320 and A320neo aircraft throughout the network covering Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan.

The newly delivered aircraft, from Airbus’ Hamburg facility, becomes the first A321neo operating in Malaysia.

With 236 seats – a 27% increase in capacity compared to AirAsia’s present fleet of A320 (180 seats) and A320neo (186 seats) – the A321neo will enable AirAsia to serve strong ongoing demand across the network with significant operational efficiencies and open up opportunities to explore new destinations, with more than 10% fuel savings.

AirAsia will initially operate the aircraft from its Kuala Lumpur hub to cities across Asia, with the first destinations including Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore, Bangkok and Shenzhen.

“This new aircraft will be deployed on popular routes delivering growth opportunities to new markets and add extra capacity in existing markets, particularly where there are expansion constraints due to infrastructure or slot availability limitations,” says AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

“Last year AirAsia flew over 90 million guests and now, with significantly improved operational efficiencies and 50 more seats per aircraft, AirAsia can look forward to flying even more people for less. As our cost is reduced we can pass on any savings to our guests in the form of even lower airfares,” he concluded.