AirAsia X eyeing A321LR and additional A321neos
AirAsia X is currently in the process of analyzing operating and performance details of the Airbus A321LR and additional A321neos to incorporate in their fleet.
In a presentation delivered to airline employees and media, narrow-body aircraft would save the airline largely in operating costs compared to the wide-body A330 fleet.
AirAsia X has a fleet of 22 A330-300s with an additional three on order. Recently the airline placed a large order for 100 A330-900neos at the Farnborough Air Show which are set to be delivered in 2019. As well as the A330s, the AirAsia group as a whole has 100 A321neos on order and 273 A320neos – all of which can be converted to the larger A321neo variant or the LR if deemed necessary.
Under mixed fleet conditions (A330+A320neo family), the airline says the A321neos could operate roughly 64% of its Malaysian network, which consists of flights up to nearly eight hours long. By allocating these aircraft on appropriately sized routes, the airline could place its new and existing A330s on new, larger and longer routes.
Not much information has been provided as to what and where the A321LR would operate but it is firm that they are looking at the model.
The contracts bound to the Air Asia Group and Airbus are not clear, however there is a possibility that Airbus may be willing to let the airline reduce the A330 orderbook and convert them to A320neo family aircraft. However at this stage, with the current order situation the A330neo is in, Airbus might not want to budge.
Time will tell as AirAsia X insists these ideas are in early thoughts and no firm plan is set in place.