TOULOUSE (Airbus) - AirAsia, the region's fastest growing low cost carrier, has initiated a total fleet renewal with the delivery of the first of sixty A320s at an official ceremony held at the LIMA Airshow in Langkawi, Malaysia today.
The event was attended by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Pahamin A Rajab, Chairman, AirAsia Group, Datuk Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia Group and Mr Edouard Ullmo, SVP Business Development, Customer Affairs, Airbus.
The A320s will be configured with 180 seats and over time completely replace the Boeing 737-300 fleet currently operated by the AirAsia Group (comprising AirAsia in Malaysia, Thai AirAsia in Thailand and AWAIR in Indonesia). AirAsia holds options to purchase a further 40 A320s under an agreement signed with Airbus in March 2005. All A320 aircraft will be powered by CFM-56-5B engines from CFM international.
AirAsia is the latest low cost carrier (LCC) from the Asia - Pacific region to introduce A320 Family aircraft, with eight LCCs from Australia, India, New Zealand, Philippines and Singapore already having the aircraft in service. A total of almost 440 Airbus A320 Family aircraft are in service with 36 airlines in Asia-Pacific, with total orders from the region exceeding 570 aircraft. The A320 Family has a widespread reputation for high dispatch reliability even on short hops, with wide aisles facilitating quick turnarounds for efficient operations.
"The A320 heralds the beginning of a new era for AirAsia. The sophistication of these aircraft will enhance our image and brand. This should enable us to capture a wider market segment that previously had reservations about our in-flight product.
The superiority of the A320s in terms of fuel burn, maintenance requirements, increased capacity, wider cabin and larger cargo payload, will allow us to have greater operations efficiency while ensuring that our cost optimization program remains as the lowest in the world," said Datuk Tony Fernandes, Group CEO, AirAsia Berhad.
"Over the past two years, the A320 Family has proven to be the outstandingly popular choice with both start-up and established low-cost carriers in the Asia Pacific region and I am delighted to welcome AirAsia to this dynamic group of operators. With its superb economics and high passenger appeal, the A320 is sure winner that will further spur AirAsia's success," said Mr Gustav Humbert, CEO and President of Airbus.
The A320 is a member of Airbus' single-aisle Family, comprising the A318, A319, A320 and A321 and has a seat capacity between 107 and 220 seats. It is the fastest selling aircraft family with nearly 3,900 sold so far.
The A320 Family offers a range of essential benefits to low cost airlines: Wider aisles and full-scale service doors, as well as a bigger, more accessible cargo area enabling faster turnaround times. Furthermore the A320 Family aircraft are equipped with the biggest overhead storage space in their class for more convenient storage of modern roll-aboard luggage.
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