AirAsia X could abandon its single aircraft fleet policy to add the smaller Airbus A321. It would then help the carrier to develop new long-haul routes and link more secondary cities to Northeast Asia or the Pacific Rim.
The information was carried to US air transport magazine FlightGlobal. According to a recent presentation to its shareholders, AirAsia X noted that narrow body aircraft such as the Airbus A321Neo or Airbus A321Neo LR (Long Range) could help reducing variable costs up to 16% and fixed costs up to 5% compared with the current A330 aircraft. The integration of Airbus A321Neo would also help reshaping the network. The aircraft would serve routes within a seven to nine-hour flying range (mostly for Northeast Asia and to Perth or Adelaide in Australia) while the larger A330 would concentrate on longer routes such as Sydney, Melbourne but also future routes to Europe.
The Airbus A321Neo and NeoLR would also help boosting longer-range destinations from secondary cities such as Penang, Medan, Surabaya, Cebu, Chiang Mai or Phuket.
If AirAsia X adopt this dual-fleet plan, the future Airbus A321Neo would then be equipped with a two-class product offering between 192 and 236 seats. According to Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the AirAsia X group operates 31 A330-300s across its Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian units.
According to FlightGlobal, the mixed-fleet operational study “is still in its infancy stage [with] no concrete announcement to be made at the moment”.
The AirAsia Group placed an order for 100 A321neos at the 2016 Farnborough air show. The airline could also convert 40 of its Airbus A330Neo order into the smaller Airbus A321Neo. Airbus has in its books an order for 100 A330Neo for the low cost carrier group. The AirAsia X Group could see the first deliveries of the A321Neo and NeoLR start by 2Q2019. The group’s Thai affiliate would operate the initial batch of A321neos followed by its Malaysian counterpart.