The new twin-aisle jet was first unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow in July this year, and AirAsia immediately signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 50 of the new aircraft, to be operated by the airline’s long-haul subsidiary, AirAsia X.
And now, this order has been confirmed and expanded to 55 aircraft. Deliveries of the newly-ordered aircraft will begin in 2018.
“This latest deal with Airbus will enable AirAsia X to consolidate its growth rate in 2015-2017 before ramping up deliveries with the new A330neo models… from 2018 onwards,” said Tony Fernandes, co-founder & director of AirAsia X.
“The A330 has proven itself to be exactly the right aircraft for our business model as part of our continuous efforts to drive cost down. With the new fuel efficiency its engine will allow us to optimise utilisation whilst flying to new long range destinations.
“We are extremely excited with the new orders of A330neos, which reaffirms my commitment to leading AirAsia X to the next stage of growth and achieving the same level of success as our short-haul airline,” he added.
The A330neo is the new fuel-efficient version of Airbus’ popular wide-body aircraft, the A330. It will feature two versions, with the A330-800neo replacing the existing A330-200 and the A330-900neo replacing the A330-300. The ‘neo’ suffix stands for ‘new engine option’, referring to the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines that will be used to power the aircraft.
“This order from AirAsia X is a major endorsement of the A330neo as the most cost-efficient aircraft in its size category,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer. “With the A330neo in its fleet, AirAsia X will benefit from even lower operating costs as it expands it network and reach, enabling more people to fly further more often than ever before.”
The A330neo is the latest in a series of new, fuel-efficient long-haul jets being introduced by Airbus and Boeing. The B787 Dreamliner series launched in 2011 and the A350 will launch this month. Boeing is also developing the B777-X and a replacement for its existing B777 series.
AirAsia X currently operates a fleet of standard A330s and also has outstanding orders for the A350.