AirAsia signs for 100 new Airbus A321neo aircraft

By Matt Lennon, July 13 2016
AirAsia signs for 100 new Airbus A321neo aircraft

AirAsia customers in Perth and Darwin are in the box seat to enjoy brand new planes in coming years after the Malaysian low-cost carrier today unveiled an order for 100 Airbus A321neo (New Engine Option) aircraft.

Valued at some A$16.5 billion (US$12.6 billion) based on list prices, it marks the first time AirAsia has graduated to a larger variant in its hallmark A320 family.

Announcing the deal at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK, AirAsia Group founder and CEO Tony Fernandes said the A320neo jets – due to join the red-and-white fleet from 2019 – would take over existing AirAsia landing slots at the busiest airports throughout the ASEAN region.

The A320neos will carry 236 passengers in the airline's baseline all-economy class layout, up from 180 in today's standard A320 configuration, representing an almost-30% increase in capacity.

This will allow the airline to carry more passengers onto a single flight rather than trying to squeeze new flights into already crowded airports where existing infrastructure was near breaking point.

A key part of the deal was the ability for the A321neo to adhere to the AirAsia model of being able to land, unload passengers and luggage, refuel, load new and push-back for a new flight in as little as 25 minutes.

This would be maintained by having passengers would enter the aircraft from two or even three different doors, where permitted.

"The reality of AirAsia is low cost and low-cost is what we’re all about. Low-cost equals low airfares and that’s how we’ve grown from 200,000 passengers 14 years ago to this year carrying over 60 million passengers."

"And with this aircraft, we will hit 100 million passengers in the not-too-distant future," Fernandes added.

London (and Paris) calling...

Fernandes remains bullish on the prospects of re-opening routes from Kuala Lumpur to London and Paris from 2018, when the airline begins flying its new fuel-efficient A330neo aircraft.

AirAsia X shuttered its European routes in 2012 due to high fuel costs of its four-engine A340 fleet.

The A330neos may also carry a revamped Premium seat, although Fernandes said there were no plans to change from the current angled flat-bed to a fully lie-flat bed.

Matt Lennon travelled to London as a guest of AirAsia Group.

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Matt Lennon is not just a frequent flyer but also a frequent cruiser, travelling the world by sea and air.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 378

25 mins to unload over 200 people and then reload another 200+. That is going to be fun

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

Interesting moving the whole fleet to 321neos.

Both Jetstar Australia and more recently Jetstar Pacific have been running a combined fleet of 320/321s for some time,

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2015

Total posts 121

They also have a 100+100 (Option) order for A320's. They'll be running a combined fleet as well. My guess is, this is an order for the whole AirAsia group and not just AirAsia Malaysia, so it'll be distributed.

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 58

The whole AirAsia group has 300 A320neo's on order, and still getting A320ceo 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2015

Total posts 121

Oops. Thanks for the correction.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621

Total firm order for 320 family held by AirAsia Group still on backlog as of today =440+:

320Ceo =40+

320Neo =300

321Neo =100

"..this is an order for the whole AirAsia group and not just AirAsia Malaysia..."

Definitely...there's no way AirAsia MY brand can absorb 440+ frames all by itself even in the best case growth scenerio.  Many of these frames are intended to grow recently launched brands(e.g. AirAsia India) with tiny fleets today or not yet launched brands(e.g. AirAsia Japan Mk2) with fleet size @ zero.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621

"Interesting moving the whole fleet to 321neos."

No, AirAsia is not.  In fact during media interviews re this 321Neo order, Tony(AirAsia Group CEO) specifically stated that he still needed the 320Neo and expected that variant to continue to dominate his fleet.

And I think Tony is a pragmatic CEO.  Out of 100 AirAsia Group destinations, only about 10-12 airports are currently creating slot shortage/frequency limit issues for AirAsia Group and truly need 321Neo....and home fortress hubs such as KUL and DMK are not among them.  Besides, even if airport slot problems become much worse/wide spread, there'll still be legions of 339+359(76 airframes) coming online @ AirAsiaX over the nex 2-7yrs.  In AirAsia Group configs, seat count of every 333 exceeds 320Neo x2.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621

Hello Matt,

You may want to amend the following sections of your article:

"...the 320neo jets...would take over existing AirAsia landing slots at the busiest airports..."

No, it won't.  It's the 321Neo that will per the official press releases(Plus during the media events @ Farborough show) by both AirAsia+Airbus.

"The 320neos will carry 236 passengers..."

Again, they technically & physically cannot.  It's the 321Neo that can carry 236 pax.

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