Manila-based Philippines AirAsia is considering a fleet rollover from the Airbus A320-200 to the newer Airbus A321neo. According to the boss of AirAsia’s Philippine subsidiary, Ricky P. Isla, changing up to the A321neo would help the airline cope with slot restrictions at some airports.
While talking to the Manila Bulletin newspaper about the possible upgrade, the head honcho of Philippines AirAsia had this to say about the idea, according to aviation website CH-Aviation:
“AirAsia Philippines is still concretizing plans to purchase an A321neo. While we continue to achieve our operational goals with our existing twenty-four A320s, investing in newer additional aircraft will be advantageous for any airline in a slot-constrained environment.”
AirAsia just took delivery of its first A321neo last week
The parent company of Philippines AirAsia, Kuala Lumpur headquartered AirAsia Group has just recently taken delivery of their first A321neo registration number 9M-VAA.
The new Airbus jet has entered service with AirAsia at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) and is being used on domestic routes within Malaysia.
When speaking about their plans for the Airbus A321neo with Philippines subsidiary, AirAsia Group Senior Manager for Aircraft Planning and Evaluation Matthew Glaus to the Philippines leading newspaper:
“This aircraft will be rolled across all of our AOCs moving forward over the next few years. In the Philippines, we see a big potential because we see constraints in Manila Ninoy Aquino Int’l in terms of a number of aircraft operating. If we want to grow in this sort of market, we need a bigger aircraft because we cannot add any more flights.”
AirAsia has a huge order with Airbus for the A321neo
At the moment Philippines AirAsia flies 24 Airbus A320-200s making it the second-smallest airline in the AirAsia group of airlines behind AirAsia Japan.
With its Airbus A320-200s, Philippines AirAsia operates 162 daily flights to 28 destinations that include places in China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.
The idea of Philippines AirAsia gradually replacing its A320-200s for the larger more fuel-efficient A321neo is probably an idea hatched by AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes.
As we mentioned earlier Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia just took delivery of the first of 353 A321neos that it has on order with the European planemaker.
The A321neo will become the backbone of AirAsia’s fleet
While talking at the handover AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes had this to say in an AirAsia press release:
“This new aircraft will be deployed on popular routes delivering growth opportunities to new markets and add extra capacity in existing markets, particularly where there are expansion constraints due to infrastructure or slot availability limitations. Last year Air Asia flew over 90 million guests and now, with significantly improved operational efficiencies and 50 more seats per aircraft, Air Asia can look forward to flying even more people for less. As our cost is reduced we can pass on any savings to our guests in the form of even lower airfares.”
With so many orders for the Airbus A321neo, it looks like AirAsia plans to make the aircraft the backbone of its fleet. Making its subsidiaries like Philippines AirAsia switch over to the newer aircraft also seems like a no brainer given the planes operating costs and larger capacity.
What do you think about the AirAsia Group and their plans? Please let us know in the comments.