AirAsia X, a low-cost, long-haul affiliate of AirAsia, has signed a letter of intent with International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) to lease six Airbus A330-300s.
The Airbus A330-300 widebodies – which appear to be used aircraft – are scheduled for delivery to AirAsia X in 2013 and 2014.
According to ILFC, the airline will operate the six A330s on its expanding network in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes markets in Australia, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and its surrounding regions.
The six aircraft are of the same model as those which AirAsia X has purchased directly from Airbus, each featuring Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and a maximum take-off weight of 233 tons.
“ILFC is pleased to welcome AirAsia X as our new customer in the Asia-Pacific region. This new partnership will support the long-haul business of AirAsia X and reinforce the airline’s position in the low-cost segment of the market,” says Henri Courpron, ILFC’s chief executive officer .
AirAsia X will lease the six aircraft for a 10-year lease term. The leased aircraft will be reconfigured to meet AirAsia X’s existing Airbus A330-300 cabin configuration, which contains 12 premium-class flat-bed seats and 365 economy seats.
“These six aircraft, together with existing delivery orders from Airbus, will see AirAsia X’s growth develop, with a total of seven deliveries each in 2013 and 2014, with the aim of being the dominant market leader in the low-cost long-haul segment,” says AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani.
“We intend to deploy the additional capacity with a vision to solidify our positions in our identified core markets including Australia, China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan,” adds Osman-Rani. “Our commitment to have a standardized, young, and fuel efficient fleet optimizes our resources and provides better value for our guests.”
AirAsia is the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, currently serving 85 destinations. Within 10 years of operations, AirAsia has carried more than 150 million paying passengers and has grown its fleet from just two aircraft to approximately 105.
The airline today is very much an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) airline, with established operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines servicing a network stretching across all ASEAN countries, as well as China, India, Sri Lanka and Australia.
A low-cost long-haul affiliate of AirAsia, AirAsia X currently flies to 13 destinations in seven countries and operates a fleet of nine Airbus A330-300s, each featuring a seat configuration of 12 Premium Flatbeds and 365 Economy seats. The airline has carried more than 7 million paying passengers since its inception in 2007.
AirAsia X has now ordered or agreed to lease a total of 32 A330 widebodies, including three Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The carrier has also ordered 10 Airbus A350-900 widebodies and optioned five more.
ILFC is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. insurance and financial-services giant AIG.