AirAsia’s firm order for the wide-body twin-engine jetliner with the aircraft manufacturer signifies its serious expansion program to pursue with its massive purchase of these large aircraft.
The airline had earlier signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the aircraft manufacturer during the Farnborough Air Show in July this year for a firm order of 50 A330neos last July and later added 5 more of the same variant for a total of 55 aircraft.
The aircraft will start arriving in 2018, when the airline starts its massive expansion plans with the opening of more routes across the region.
The massive order for the type of aircraft is said to be the largest of its kind from a single company. The airline has an outstanding order of 24 of the regular A330-300 with the aircraft manufacturer for its other long-haul affiliates.
The airline is expecting to grow its revenue for the three-year period, 2015-2017, as it starts to take delivery of the aircraft by 2018.
The airline founder and CEO, Tony Fernandes, claimed that the A330 aircraft is the right equipment for its long-haul low-cost operations, as it requires low operating cost and the unparalleled comfort that it provides to passengers due to its its state-of-the-art features.
The A330neo is the improved variant of the A330 family, primarily for its fuel efficiency feature that is proven to cut fuel consumption by 14%.
The suffix 'neo' attached to the aircraft name stands for 'New Engine Option' as distinguished from the regular variant which doesn't have the same suffix. The added and enhanced features of the jetliner such as the engine pylons, distinctive winglets, and longer wingspan would reduce the fuel burn by as much as 14% per seat, making it the most fuel-efficient aircraft of its class in the market today.
AirAsia X currently operates a fleet of 19 regular variant of A330-300 aircraft. It flies to more than 21 regional and long-haul destinations across Asia, Australia, and the Middle East from its hub in Kuala Lumpur.