AirAsia may order 30 more A320s from Airbus


Kuala Lumpur (XFNews-ASIA) - AirAsia said it plans to order 30 new A320 passenger jets from Airbus to meet expanding operations. 

The low-cost carrier's CEO Tony Fernandes said the option for 30 additional A320s is subject to board approval with a decision expected next week.

"The management is recommending to the board a further 30 option," Fernandes told reporters in a conference call.

Airbus said late yesterday that AirAsia had confirmed an order for 40 single-aisle A320 planes in a deal worth 2.7 bln usd.

The carrier said this week it expects to fly to China and India in early 2007. It will also take up 99 domestic routes from Malaysia Airlines under a government route rationalisation plan effective from August 1.

AirAsia has been planning its major expansion plan on the wings of 100 Airbus A320 planes, including the latest confirmed order of 40.

"We have mapped out the 100 aircraft order as a mixture of Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. After we did that 100 aircraft order, now that we know the fate of the domestic (routes), we felt that we just didn't have enough, so that's why we put in the 30 option," Fernandes said.

"I think obviously the fact that we have received permission to go to China and India, that would be one consideration in our order, among many others," he added.

Fernandes said the budget carrier had secured attractive financing terms to confirm the purchase of the 40 A320s and the additional 30 but declined to reveal details.

"We don't feel that we have any worries on the financing side and the fact is our offer has been further enhanced in terms of financing from Airbus and its partners," he said.

"I think Airbus has given us some undertakings -- but we are not at liberty to talk about that." 

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