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AirAsia inks major deals with Airbus

Malaysia-headed low-cost air-carrier group AirAsia Group Berhad has signed two major agreements with European aircraft and aerospace major Airbus, covering the order of an additional 12 A330neo and 30 A321XLR aircraft, as well as a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to support the development of the Malaysian aerospace industry.

At the signing ceremony held on August 30, 2019, were Christian Scherer (left), Airbus CEO; Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO; Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO; YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia; Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Chairman AirAsia X Berhad; Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, AirAsia Group Executive Chairman; Bo Lingam, AirAsia Group President (Airlines) flanked by cabin crew (photo courtesy AirAsia).

As part of the deal, Airbus will expand its maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) presence in Malaysia and establish the Airbus Malaysia Digital Initiative to enhance the competitiveness of the local aerospace sector through the application of new digital technologies, in line with the government’s vision to make Malaysia a regional aerospace hub.

Airbus will also boost its commitment to the Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC) – of which it is a founding member – by appointing an Innovation Technical Director and increasing its funding for joint research programmes, including into the production of sustainable aviation biofuels in Malaysia.

The agreements were signed by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury and Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Chairman of AirAsia X Berhad for the aircraft purchase and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Executive Chairman of AirAsia Group Berhad for the industrial projects.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Also present was AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

Airbus largest aerospace partner

Airbus is the largest international partner for the Malaysian aerospace industry. Its sourcing and services businesses in the country are now valued at some US$400 million per annum for the local economy, a figure expected to rise to more than US$550 million every year with these new initiatives.

This is a significant day for the future of aviation in Malaysia. Airbus’s commitment to investing to expand its industrial presence here will deliver significant benefits to the economy, through job creation and by transforming industry best practice. By ensuring Malaysia remains at the cutting edge of global aerospace developments, we will be able to future proof the local industry and guarantee our future competitiveness. I would like to thank Airbus for their continued support of our airline and for the contribution they make to our local economy through funding and developing the Malaysian aerospace industrysaid Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Executive Chairman, AirAsia Group.

Long-haul aircraft order

AirAsia also signed an agreement for a firm order of 12 additional Airbus A330neo aircraft, taking the total from 66 to 78 A330neos on order and 30 state-of-the-art A321XLR aircraft, to join AirAsia’s future long-haul fleet.

AirAsia aircraft at the gate of an airport in Asia.

With a fleet of 254 Airbus A320 and A330’s, Malaysia-headed AirAsia operates hubs in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and Japan. With the new Airbus order future destinations may include Australia and China.

The introduction of the A321XLR provides AirAsia X with greater flexibility to better manage capacity on key routes as well as respond to seasonal demand.

The A321XLR also gives AirAsia X an advantage when it comes to exploring opportunities to operate non-stop flights between Southeast Asia and secondary cities in countries like Australia, China, and Japan.

As a company that prides itself on sustainability, AirAsia continues to lead the way in driving sustainable operations and tourism. Not only do we invest heavily in new, more fuel-efficient aircraft, we have also begun looking into alternative jet fuel solutions, said Datuk Kamarudin Meranun.

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