AirAsia, Southeast Asia's, largest and leading low-cost carrier, has placed the largest order of a total of 225 A320s with Airbus, making it the biggest operator for the aircraft in the world. This position has been confirmed with the airline placing an order for an additional 25 A320s, with another 25 on option.
The latest orders bring AirAsia Group''s total orders to 175 firm orders and 50 purchase options. Malaysia AirAsia, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia are the sister airlines within the group.
The contract was signed by Tony Fernandes, group chief executive officer, AirAsia Berhad and John Leahy, chief operating officer, customers, Airbus in the presence of Dato' Sri Najib bin Tun Hj Abdul Razak, deputy prime minister of Malaysia.
AirAsia placed its original order for 60 A320s in March 2005, with re-orders for an additional 40 aircraft announced at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2006 and another 50 aircraft in January 2007.
Currently AirAsia is operating 31 A320s on a rapidly expanding domestic and regional network.
The new set of orders is expected to completely replace Thai AirAsia's and Indonesia AirAsia's current fleet of Boeing 737 by 2008. Thai AirAsia recently added two brand new A320s to its fleet.
According to Tony Fernanades, ''This purchase is an important step for us at AirAsia as it signifies our future aggressive route expansion plans in tandem to our expected traffic growth over the next decade. As the winner of CAPA Airline of the Year 2007, we are proud of this purchase as it further demonstrates our commitment to enhance AirAsia's position on our networks by incorporating the most modern and efficient aircraft in the market. The addition of the aircrafts will be used to add frequency across the route network, introduce new routes and gradually replace the current fleet of Boeing 737 in Thailand and Indonesia.''
''Reputed for its high reliability and low operating costs, the inception of A320s has indeed enhanced our efficiency level to greater heights. This is evident, as on-time performance has improved tremendously to an average of 85% from the Kuala Lumpur hub this year. AirAsia's introduction to the aviation industry as an innovator has grown to the extent it is now a leader that sets the benchmark to others.''