AirAsia to Operate Chinese-made Airplanes? Maybe Soon Enough
Global airlines may consider adding the new and potentially cheaper China made C919 aircraft to their current fleets which mainly consist of aircraft from the two globally established players Airbus and Boeing.
Adding to the list of airlines looking at buying the new and potentially cheaper made in China aircraft C919 to further expand their current fleets, Asia’s low-cost carrier AirAsia, which currently owns an all-Airbus fleet, has said that it may also consider buying the aircraft since it would be foolish to ignore new aeroplanes.
“I think as an airline you have to look at everything. We will be foolish not to look at new planes,” AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said in an interview with Bloomberg Television where he was asked if his company would consider the Chinese-made C919.
As part of the airline’s move into the mainland Chinese market, AirAsia’s executive chairman, Kamarudin Meranun, said his company is considering a series of other measures, including aircraft orders.
“We are working closely with Huawei to create a digital airline and smart airport to transform the way we fly and have also started exploring the COMAC C919. China has been good to us and we want to give back in a big way,” Kamarudin said.
AirAsia's current fleet comprises 173 A320-200s, six A320-200neos, and 30 A330-300s operated by its units in India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
According to COMAC's website, twenty-three customers have already placed orders for 570 of the aircraft.
As reported earlier, AirAsia announced last week that they have signed a joint venture agreement to launch a new Chinese start-up, AirAsia China. AirAsia China is planned to be based in Zhengzhou, in the Henan Province of China, situated on the Yellow River. The venture is to run in partnership with the Everbright Group.
AirAsia already has a presence in China, flying to 15 destinations there, making it the country's largest foreign budget airline.
China is forecast to overtake the US as the world’s biggest air travel market by 2024 but budget carriers have made little headway so far because of the dominance of the big three state players: Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines.
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