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 AirAsia X Buys Another 10 Airbus A330s, Eyes Flights To London, India

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PostSubject: AirAsia X Buys Another 10 Airbus A330s, Eyes Flights To London, India   Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:40 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Malaysian long-haul budget airline AirAsia X inked a deal Thursday (27 Mar) to buy another 10 Airbus A330 aircraft, taking its order to 25 planes, as it unveiled plans to expand services to London and India.

The 10 A330s have a list value of US$2 billion and will be delivered progressively over the next five years, said AirAsia X's Chief Executive Azran Osman-Rani. Aircraft makers typically give discounts on large orders.

To boost its long-term growth, Azran said the carrier aims to acquire 25 new generation planes, either the A350s or the Boeing B787-9 jetliners. Talks are ongoing with the two aircraft makers, he said, declining to give further details

"We now have more planes in our arsenal to ramp up our global route network," he said at the signing ceremony. "We will have real scale to dominate Asia Pacific over the next five years."
Azran said AirAsia X is also looking at buying or leasing two long-range A340s so it could launch flights to London's Stansted Airport. It plans to begin services to London by fourth quarter of this year.

"We've got U.K. and Malaysian government approval, airport support. Everybody is ready to receive us....but this depends on aircraft availability," he told reporters.

AirAsia X, which launched flights in November, has already ordered 15 wide-bodied A330s, two of which will be delivered later this year and another two in 2009. It now flies from Kuala Lumpur to Australia's Gold Coast and to Hangzhou in China using one leased plane.

Azran said the carrier plans to expand services to more destinations in Australia and China this year, as well as launch flights to Indian cities such as Amritsar, Poona, Jaipur, Calcutta and Amhedabad. Details will be released later, he said.

AirAsia X plans to also begin flights to Japan by late 2009 or mid-2010, he added.
Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat, who witnessed the signing ceremony, said AirAsia X's expansion will boost Malaysia's aim to become a leading low-cost aviation hub in Southeast Asia.

The new plane order comes after AirAsia X raised more funds last month by selling a 10 percent stake each to Japan's Orix Group and Bahrain-based Manara Consortium for a total of 250 million ringgit (US$78 million).

After the sale is completed, AirAsia X's parent, Aero Ventures Sdn. Bhd., will own 48 percent of the carrier while billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Group will hold 16%. AirAsia, the region's top low-cost carrier, holds the remaining 16%.
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