Thursday, December 6, 2007

AirAsia to become the largest A320 airline operator in the world

In my previous blog article, A Success Storey -AirAsia, where they aim to be Asia's BIGGEST airline by 2013 and make Malaysia the region busiest aviation hub. Now, they are.....

The largest and leading low-cost carrier in Southeast Asia, AirAsia has placed the largest order of a total of 225 A320s, making it the biggest operator for the aircraft in the world. The latest contract for an additional 25 A320s together with a further 25 A320s on option, brings AirAsia Group's (Malaysia AirAsia, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia) total orders to 175 firm orders and 50 purchase options.

The contract was signed on December 5, 2007 at the Langkawi Airshow by Dato’ Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Berhad and John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer - Customers of Airbus. The momentous ceremony was witnessed by YAB Dato’ Sri Najib bin Tun Hj. Abdul Razak, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.

AirAsia placed its original order for 60 A320s in March 2005, with re-orders for an additional 40 aircraft announced at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2006 and another 50 aircraft in January 2007. The first aircraft was delivered to AirAsia in December 2005 and currently AirAsia is operating with 31 A320s on a rapidly expanding domestic and regional network.

It is noteworthy to highlight that AirAsia’s Kuala Lumpur hub is one hundred percent operating with A320s and a combined fleet size of 64 aircraft. The new set of order is expected to completely replace Thai AirAsia’s and Indonesia AirAsia’s current fleet of Boeing 737 by 2008. Thai AirAsia has recently added two brand new A320s, the first one received on 21st October 2007 and the second on 10th November 2007.

“This purchase is an important step for us at AirAsia as it signifies our future aggressive route expansion plans in tandem to our expected traffic growth over the next decade. As the winner of CAPA Airline of the Year 2007, we are proud of this purchase as it further demonstrates our commitment to enhance AirAsia’s position on our networks by incorporating the most modern and efficient aircraft in the market.

The addition of the aircrafts will be used to add frequency across the route network, introduce new routes and gradually replace the current fleet of Boeing 737 in Thailand and Indonesia. Reputed for its high reliability and low operating costs, the inception of A320s has indeed enhanced our efficiency level to greater heights.

This is evident as on time performance has improved tremendously to an average of 85%from the Kuala Lumpur hub this year. AirAsia’s introduction to the aviation industry as an innovator has grown to the extent it is now a leader that sets the benchmark to others” said Dato’ Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia Bhd.

"We have been extremely proud to be part of AirAsia’s outstanding success and delighted that the confidence in the A320 has resulted in the airline now becoming the largest airline customer for this aircraft in the world. With its unbeatable economics and enormous passenger appeal, I am confident that the large A320 fleet is destined to propel AirAsia to the forefront of industry in the years ahead,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer - Customers.

The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly by wire controls and all share unique cockpit commonality across the range. Over 5,500 Airbus A320 Family have been sold and over 3200 delivered to more than 200 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world’s best selling commercial jetliner ever.

With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family offers the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. In addition, the latest new cabin design saves on weight and offers the passenger a quieter and roomier experience as well as significantly larger overhead stowage lockers.

Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerised cargo system, which is compatible with the worldwide standard wide-body system.

Press Release:-

AirAsia receives Malaysia's 1st Airbus A320. Aircraft debuts at LIMA, Langkawi

AirAsia, the region’s leading low fare airline, which became the proud new owners of its first A320 by European plane manufacturer, Airbus on 8th December, became first time participant at the prestigious LIMA AIR SHOW 2005

At an official ceremony held at the LIMA Airshow in Langkawi, today, AirAsia has initiated a total fleet renewal with the delivery of the first of sixty A320. The event was attended by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak,Prime Minister of Malaysia,Datuk Pahamin A Rajab, Chairman, AirAsia,Datuk Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia, and Mr Edouard Ullmo, SVP Customer Affairs, Airbus.

“The A320s heralds the beginning of a new era for AirAsia. The sophistication of these aircrafts will enhance our image and brand. This should enable us to capture a wider market segment that previously had reservations about our in-flight product.

The superiority of the A320s in terms of fuel burn, maintenance requirements, increased capacity, wider cabin and larger cargo payload, will allow us to achieve greater operation efficiency while ensuring that our cost optimization program remains as the lowest(cost) in the world.

“Over the past two years, the A320 Family has proven to be the outstandingly popular choice with both start-up and established low-cost carriers in the Asia Pacific region and I am delighted to welcome AirAsia to this dynamic group of operators. With its superb economics and high passenger appeal, the A320 is sure winner that will further spur AirAsia’s success,” said Mr Gustav Humbert, CEO and President of Airbus.

In March 2005, the low fare airline signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for 60 A320s plus a further 40 options, making AirAsia the single largest customer and No. 1 Airbus operator in the Asia-Pacific region. The additional Airbus order was a direct response to the exciting new developments undertaken by the Group in view of market expansion in the region.

Deliveries of the A320s in 180 seat configurations will gradually replace the Boeing 737-300 fleet currently operated by the AirAsia Group (comprising AirAsia in Malaysia, Thai AirAsia in Thailand and AWAIR, now Indonesia AirAsia, in Indonesia). (Ooops..Tony, Airbus said it's 179 and not 180 as you've mentioned)

All A320 aircraft will be powered by CFM-56-5B engines from CFM international. An OnPointSM Solution engine service agreement signed with General Electric Company (GE) would ensure the maintenance, overhaul and repair of firm 129 CFM 56-5B engines (60 A320s). The 20 year agreement is worth approximately USD $1.5 billion.

AirAsia is the latest low cost carrier (LCC) from the Asia – Pacific region to take delivery of the A320 family aircraft. A total of almost 440 Airbus A320 Family aircraft are in service with 36 airlines in Asia-Pacific, with total orders from the region exceeding 570 aircraft. The A320 Family has a widespread reputation for high dispatch reliability even on short hops, with wide aisles facilitating quick turnarounds for efficient operations.

The Current Biggest Operator of A320 - JetBlue Airway

NEW YORK, March 23, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- JetBlue Airways (NasdaqGS:JBLU - News) today accepted delivery of its 100th Airbus A320 aircraft. The low-cost, low-fare, value-oriented airline operates the world's largest fleet of A320 aircraft. The special aircraft will feature a one-of-a-kind 100-themed blue livery signifying its unique status. New York's hometown airline celebrated the event at a special ceremony at JetBlue's home base of operations, John F. Kennedy International Airport.

``The A320 has been the foundation of JetBlue's operations since we first took to the skies on February 11, 2000,'' said JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman.

``JetBlue's A320 offers customers the most comfortable in-flight experience, and helps us keep our costs and fares low. The fleet has proven itself through high reliability and excellent performance. We are grateful to Airbus for their partnership and dedication with this world-class airplane.''

``This 100th delivery is a significant milestone in the relationship between our two companies. Airbus is extremely proud of its business partnership with JetBlue who is our largest airline customer for the A320 worldwide,'' said Chris Jones, Vice President-Marketing, Airbus North America. ``We salute the achievements of the management and crewmembers of JetBlue and look forward to their continuing success with our market-leading A320 in the years to come.''

JetBlue's Airbus A320 fleet offers the most comfortable coach-class travel experiences in the skies, with all-leather seats, individual seat-back televisions with 36 channels of free digital DIRECTV(r) programming, more overhead storage space than any other aircraft in its class, and more legroom than any other airline's coach cabin (a). JetBlue customers enjoy at least 36-inch pitch (the distance from one seat to the same point on the seat behind it) in rows 1-11, and at least 34-inch pitch in rows 12-25. In addition, more than 100 channels of free XM Satellite Radio are currently being installed on all JetBlue A320 aircraft.

In 2005, JetBlue was awarded the prestigious Award for Operational Excellence by Airbus for having attained, over the prior two years, a 99.43 percent technical dispatch reliability of its A320 fleet, the highest percent of all carriers worldwide with a fleet of more than 50 Airbus A320-family aircraft. In 2003, JetBlue received this award as an operator with a fleet size of fewer than 50 aircraft.

In addition to the 100 aircraft now comprising JetBlue's Airbus A320 fleet, the airline has 78 additional A320 aircraft on firm order with 50 A320 aircraft options through 2013. JetBlue took delivery of its first Airbus A320 in December 1999.