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AirAsia to launch world's first low-cost network carrier


AirAsia has unveiled its ambitious strategy to transform into a comprehensive low-cost network airline, integrating a fleet of Airbus A321LR, A321XLR, and A330Neo aircraft. The parent company, Capital A, is streamlining its operations by merging the mainline AirAsia and AirAsia X divisions into a unified entity.


This move aims to offer seamless domestic, regional, and international flight services under a single cohesive brand. This innovative approach involves establishing multiple virtual hubs across Asia, Europe, Africa, and the US.


Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A, expressed excitement about the prospects, stating, "These enhanced aircraft specifications will provide us with greater flexibility on current routes and facilitate network expansion into new and exciting markets, including North Asia, Australia, and Central Asia from Southeast Asia."


AirAsia has decided to convert 36 of its existing A321Neo orders into the more versatile A321LR models in a significant restructuring move. These state-of-the-art aircraft are scheduled for delivery starting in 2025.


The Airbus A321LR boasts an impressive range of up to 8,300 kilometres in a single-class configuration, surpassing the A321Neo's range of approximately 7,400 kilometres. Furthermore, the A321XLR extends the boundaries with a range of about 8,700 kilometres. These aircraft empower AirAsia to operate efficiently on long and thin routes, enhancing connectivity and enabling increased flight frequencies.


The airline is gearing up for a gradual resumption of Airbus A321neo deliveries, commencing with the first post-pandemic delivery anticipated in June 2024, followed by an additional 24 aircraft throughout the year. These deliveries align with projected demand recovery and signify the airline's commitment to its growth trajectory.


AirAsia's partnership with Airbus underscores its ambitious growth plans. The airline has a substantial order of 647 aircraft with Airbus, comprising 612 A320 Family and 35 A330 Family aircraft. This includes 362 A321neo, 20 A321XLR, and 15 A330neo aircraft slated for delivery over the next decade. Additionally, AirAsia's extensive network encompasses several regional airlines, with AirAsia Cambodia poised for launch soon.


In summary, AirAsia's strategic fleet expansion, coupled with its innovative hub-and-spoke model, signals a new era of growth and connectivity for the airline, reinforcing its position as a pioneering force in the aviation industry.

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