AirAsia Defers At Least Eight A320s

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Neelam Mathews/New Dehil mathews.neelam@gmail.com

AirAsia is deferring delivery of eight Airbus A320 aircraft originally scheduled to arrive in 2010, and it could decide to defer more.

"We are also considering whether to defer delivery of another eight aircraft in 2011. Our decision is largely based on infrastructure issues regarding the construction of the new permanent Low-Cost Carrier Terminal at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport," Group CEO Tony Fernandes told The DAILY.

"We are internally reviewing our expansion plans, and as such, have not yet decided on which routes will be impacted by the aircraft delivery deferment. As for launching the route to New Delhi, AirAsia X is holding discussions with the various authorities concerned and has not yet decided on the date to set up this route," Fenandes added.

AirAsia became the largest airline customer for the A320 family after placing an order for a total of 225 aircraft in December 2007.

AirAsia's long-haul unit, AirAsia X, placed an order for 25 Airbus A330s last year just weeks after AirAsia switched its entire Malaysian operations to an all-A320 fleet. AirAsia in Thailand and Indonesia are also gradually phasing out their existing Boeing 737s, to be replaced with A320s.

In December 2008, the government approved a new $443 million, low-cost carrier terminal to be built in Labu, to be called KLIA East @ Labu. The airport will have 70 parking bays and a terminal capacity of 30 million passengers per year. It is expected to be completed by March 2011.

Starting Sept. 9, the carrier will launch two new flights from Miri and Tawau in Sabah and Sarawak in East Malaysia to Singapore, starting Sept. 9, to build up a stronger virtual hub in Singapore.

AirAsia now has 406 weekly flights to and from Singapore.

"We are proud to open up new markets as these sectors are not served. Students, families and foreign workers can now take advantage of our low fares and renew their social ties more frequently or even indulge in leisure holidays to both countries," said AirAsia regional head commercial Kathleen Tan.

Photo credit: AirAsia

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