By Will Lee
AirAsia Resumes Delivery of A321 Aircraft
AirAsia, the Malaysian low-cost carrier, has announced its plans to resume the delivery of Airbus A321neo aircraft. During the pandemic, the carrier suspended new aircraft delivery. The new aircraft are expected to meet the goal of net zero by 2050.
“We will also be taking delivery of the new Airbus A321neos from 2024, which will further reduce our emission per seat by 20% while driving our business growth.” Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A (formerly known as AirAsia) said.
Airbus and AirAsia inked the concrete deal for the new aircraft before the pandemic. In response to the prolonged pandemic, the pair agreed to amend the deal last year, converting the remaining undelivered 13 A320s to A321neos. The latest deal is a total order of 362 A321neo aircraft with deliveries through 2035. According to the airline, four A321neos have been delivered since 2019.
The low-cost carrier is one of Airbus’ regular customers. In 2011, the carrier signed a deal for 200 A320 aircraft at the Paris Air Show.
AirAsia is not the only Malaysian carrier to resume aircraft delivery recently. Malaysia Airlines, the flag carrier in the country, has confirmed a deal of 20 new Airbus A330neos. The new aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in 2024. According to Airbus, Malaysia is Airbus’ third-largest market in the Asia-Pacific region, following China and India.
Meanwhile, the no-frills carrier posted a net operating loss of RM235 million ($52.3 million) in the second quarter of 2022 (ending June 30). However, the airline has seen a sign of rebounding after the pandemic. Since the reopening of the country’s border and less stringent travel restrictions in other Asian countries, the demand of domestic and international travel were on the rise. The revenue of the second quarter of 2022 was increased by 277% year-over-year.
In response to the higher fuel prices, AirAsia has increased its fares by 10% and implemented a fuel charge. In the second quarter alone, the carrier relaunched 159 international routes. With this end in view, 78% of its furloughed staff have returned to the office, and expect the remaining staff will be returned by the end of the year.
The carrier said that only 65 aircraft were operating by the end of June. Compared to the same time last year when only 15 aircraft were in the skies. In addition, AirAsia has further reviewed that aircraft 108 aircraft returned to the skies as of August, and is expected to increase to 160 by the end of the year. The airline has forecasted full operations by the second quarter of 2023.