Malaysian budget carrier Air Asia took delivery of its first Airbus A321neo on Friday.
This is the first of 353 A321neos on order by the Air Asia Group which will eventually replace the existing fleet of A320 and A320neo aircraft throughout the network covering Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan.
It is now set to become the first A321neo aircraft operating in Malaysia.
With 236 seats – a 27% increase in capacity compared to Air Asia’s present fleet of A320 (180 seats) and A320neo (186 seats) – the A321neo will enable Air Asia to serve strong ongoing demand across the network with significant operational efficiencies and open up opportunities to explore new destinations, with more than 10% fuel savings, Air Asia said in a press release.
Air Asia will initially operate the aircraft from its Kuala Lumpur hub to cities across Asia, with the first destinations including Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore, Bangkok and Shenzhen.
“This new aircraft will be deployed on popular routes delivering growth opportunities to new markets and add extra capacity in existing markets, particularly where there are expansion constraints due to infrastructure or slot availability limitations. Last year Air Asia flew over 90 million guests and now, with significantly improved operational efficiencies and 50 more seats per aircraft, Air Asia can look forward to flying even more people for less. As our cost is reduced we can pass on any savings to our guests in the form of even lower airfares,” said Air Asia Group CEO Tony Fernandes.
Earlier this year, Air Asia converted 253 orders for the A320neo to the larger A321neo version, with a total of 353 aircraft on order.
In August, Air Asia took delivery of its first A330neo, a new generation Airbus wide-body that is being operated by long-haul affiliate Thai Air Asia X.
Air Asia Group operates an all-Airbus fleet of aircraft, flying out of its hubs in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan.