AirAsia parent Capital A to replace A320 fleet to more efficient A321: Tony Fernandes

LAKE TOBA, Indonesia: Capital A Bhd will be replacing its narrow-body aircraft fleet of Airbus A320 to a more fuel-efficient A321 as resumption of the aircraft delivery is expected in 2024.

Chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said Captal A's airline unit AirAsia would eventually operate all the A321s as the carrier sought to re-grow its operations in the next few years.

"Our first goal is to get all our 205 aircraft flying. We have 110 (aircraft) flying now and by the end of the year (2022) 160 and probably in the first quarter (of 2023) all of them."

"So, 2023 is a period of getting back to where we were (before the Covid-19 pandemic) and then re-growing in 2024 with the A321, of which we have 362. I think it's important to know that our deliveries up to 2029 have already been financed."

Fernandes spoke to reporters in conjunction with the arrival of AirAsia Indonesia's inaugural Jakarta-Silangit flight, which started since September 1, 2022, at the Silangit International Airport here late last week.

AirAsia Indonesia is an Indonesian airline unit of Capital A. 

Fernandes said there was a huge demand for new aircraft post-pandemic and Capital A was confident about resuming the A321 aircraft deliveries in 2024.

"People are very keen on getting new aircraft now. We were wise to get them in the early days. We're looking forward to growing," he said, adding that AirAsia was expecting to carry nearly 40 million passengers this year, half of what the airline had carried in 2019.

In October 2021, Capital A announced that it had signed an amendment agreement with European plane manufacturer, Airbus S.A.S to convert its remaining A320 aircraft orders to the A321 neo (new engine option).

The low-cost carrier has a total order of 362 of the single-aisle aircraft which can seat 236 passengers.

The resumption of the aircraft delivery was due to the suspension made during the pandemic in the last few years.

Meanwhile, Fernandes said the listing plan of AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd (AirAsia Aviation) and airasia Super App (Super App) in New York was progressing.

"We're planning the listing of AirAsia Aviation, which is private now, and Super App. That's progressing but we'll make announcements in due course," he said, adding that the announcement would be next year.

AirAsia Aviation is the holding company for Capital A's airline group which includes AirAsia Malaysia, AirAsia Philippines, AirAsia Thailand and AirAsia Indonesia.

In June this year, Fernandes said in an interview with the Financial Times that there would be two separate listings of AirAsia Aviation, followed by Super App in New York.

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