AirAsia

AirAsia reveals plan to become world’s 1st low-cost network carrier

February 23, 2024 People's Tonight 192 views

During Airbus’ leadership visit

AIRASIA on Friday unveiled plans to launch the world’s first low-cost network carrier, leveraging 22 years of its unique multi-hub strategy through its airlines in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and soon Cambodia.

The announcement was made during a welcoming ceremony of the recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Commercial Aircraft business of Airbus, Christian Scherer, to RedQ – AirAsia’s corporate headquarters in Malaysia. Hundreds of AirAsia staff, CEOs and management turned out in force to greet the illustrious Airbus leader during his first visit as CEO to the home of over 6,000 team members called Allstars.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A, the umbrella company for the AirAsia aviation group of airlines, said: “All of our achievements, including becoming one of the largest and most popular airlines in the world, have been possible with our great partnership with Airbus. Their versatile aircraft provide the best fit for our network expansion plan, with the continuous developments and improvements to the aircraft, improved fuel efficiency, increase in payload and in range capabilities, all of which offer unrivalled economics for our commitment to consistently deliver best value, high quality service.

“We look forward to expanding our narrow-body fleet with the introduction of the A321XLR and exploring opportunities with the A321LR, which will gradually replace our workhorse A320 predecessor over the coming years from our key hubs including Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and more. These new specification aircraft will enable greater flexibility on existing short to medium-haul routes and network expansion to places we have never flown before, including to exciting secondary markets such as North Asia, Australia and Central Asia from Southeast Asia.

“With our wide-body Airbus A330 fleet including the introduction of A330neo, we are also looking to expand our medium to long-haul network to the European continent, to cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Bratislava, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Africa (Cairo, Nairobi, Cape Town), East Coast North America (New York, Miami, Toronto) via Europe and West Coast North America (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver) via Japan.”

Today’s event was in celebration of the long-standing and strong partnership spanning over 20 years between Airbus and AirAsia, now the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline as voted by Skytrax for the past 14 years in a row, by close to 800 million guests flown to date. It also marks a new era as AirAsia plans to become the world’s first low cost network carrier, operating a hub and spoke model with a number of additional virtual hubs spanning Asia, Europe, Africa and the US in the future.

Tony continued: “Airbus’ continuous support and commitment to AirAsia is a testament to our partnership and I cannot thank Christian and the Airbus team enough. Throughout all odds, we managed to survive and come back better, stronger than ever.

“Our commitment to Airbus never faltered, even through the pandemic. As one of their biggest customers, we have an orderbook of 647 aircraft consisting of 612 A320 Family and 35 A330 Family aircraft with another 362 A321neo, 20 A321XLR and 15 A330neo to be delivered over the next decade as we set our sights on growing bigger than ever in the future.”

Starting with a fleet of just two aircraft in 2001, AirAsia swiftly converted to an all-Airbus fleet, following due diligence to determine the best aircraft type for the low-cost model in the region. The decision has enabled over two decades of a unique multi-hub strategy through the Group of airlines in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines – with the newest airline AirAsia Cambodia ready to take flight in the coming months.

AirAsia will resume its Airbus A321neo deliveries this year in line with strong forecast demand, starting with the first post-pandemic delivery expected in June. Importantly, AirAsia will be one of the largest operators of this new longer range, fuel-efficient, narrow-body new specification aircraft which is set to revolutionise the aviation landscape.

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