AirAsia X, the long-haul affiliate of Asia’s largest low-cost airline, has placed a firm order for 55 Airbus A330neo widebodies, increasing total firm sales of the A330neo family to date to 95 aircraft.
According to the manufacturer, this is the largest single order to date for the Airbus A330 family and reaffirms AirAsia X’s position as the biggest A330 airline customer worldwide, having now ordered a total of 91 A330-family jets.
The 15 December announcement firms a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for 50 A330neo jets that AirAsia X signed during the Farnborough International Airshow 2014 in July, and specifies an additional five aircraft.
Deliveries of the Airbus A330neo widebodies to AirAsia X will begin in 2018.
AirAsia X is the third customer to place a firm order for the new A330neo family, after Delta Air Lines and CIT Group respectively placed orders for 25 and 15 aircraft in November.
“This latest deal with Airbus will enable AirAsia X to consolidate its growth rate in 2015-2017 before ramping up deliveries from 2018 onwards,” says Tony Fernandes, co-founder and director of AirAsia X.
“The A330 has proven itself to be exactly the right aircraft for our business model, combining low operating costs, long range flying capability and high levels of comfort,” adds Fernandes.
“We are extremely excited about the even greater levels of efficiency that will come with the A330neo, which will play a key role in enabling AirAsia X to maintain its position as the long-haul low-cost leader,” Fernandes says.
“With the A330neo in its fleet, AirAsia X will benefit from even lower operating costs as it expands it network and reach, enabling more people to fly further more often than ever before,” remarks John Leahy, chief operating officer, customers, for Airbus. “We look forward to AirAsia X becoming one of the first operators of the latest version of the highly successful A330.”
Other prospective Airbus A330neo-family customers which have already signed MOUs include Air Lease Corporation, which has committed to take 25; leasing company Avolon, which has committed to order 15; Russia’s Transaero Airlines, which has agreed to order 12; and Hawaiian Airlines, which has signed an MOU for six firm A330-800neos and has secured purchase rights on six more.
Hawaiian Airlines’ Airbus A330-800neo MOU represents conversion of a previous firm order for six A350-800 widebodies.
Given the low sales of the A350-800 version of the Airbus A350 XWB family, Airbus is understood to be trying to persuade all existing A350-800 customers to convert their orders to specify either A330-800neos or Airbus A350-900 jets.
Leasing company AWAS has recently chosen the latter course for its former order for two A350-800s, converting the order to specify A350-900s.
Compared with the existing Airbus A330 family, the comparable A330neo models will offer a reduction in fuel consumption of 14 per cent per seat, an increase in non-stop flying range of up to 400 nautical miles and lower maintenance costs, according to Airbus.