BANGKOK – Budget Airline AirAsia Thursday announced an additional order of 34 Airbus A330neo planes, bringing the total value of its expanded 100-plane order to $30 billion as it sets its sights on European routes.
The first delivery of the fuel-efficient wide-body jets will arrive towards the end of 2019 and will allow the airline to take on longer non-stop routes to Europe, AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes said at a media event.
These will be used by its long-haul arm, AirAsia X, replacing its older first-generation A330s.
“We can now start the London route… This plane allows us to fly to Brazil, Namibia and anywhere we want,” he said.
The Kuala Lumpur-London route was dropped in 2012 due to low demand and high fuel prices.
“We lobbied hard for the A330neo after seeing the success of the A320neo, and working closely with Airbus, we have arrived at an aircraft that we are confident will allow us to expand our low fares offering beyond Asia-Pacific to the rest of the world,” AirAsia X chief executive Kamarudin Meranun said.
The deal makes AirAsia the biggest Asian customer of European aviation giant Airbus, which has been locked in a tight battle for dominance with US rival Boeing.