KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd has ruled out any plans to buy Boeing B787 from the US aircraft manufacturer.
Instead, the low-cost carrier will focus on its commitment with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said Boeing would be very keen to have the airline as its customer.
“I go to Seattle more than I have ever done. Right now, we are still very much an Airbus customer. We have no plan to buy from Boeing at the moment,” he was responding to NST Business query after officiating the AirAsia RedQ in Sepang, yesterday.
Fernandes said the airline would continue its expansion, mainly in China, India and Asean region, in line with its on-going aircraft orders.
An Airbus spokesperson told NSTP recently that AirAsia had ordered 688 aircraft, which included 592 units of the A320 family of single aisle aircraft and 96 units of the wide-bodies for its long-haul unit AirAsia X.
“The 96 wide-bodies comprise 66 units of the A330neo, 20 units of the A330-300 and 10 units of the A350XWB. Deliveries of the A330neos are scheduled to begin in 2019,” he said in an email reply.
Fernandes said it is pivotal to have more low-cost terminals.
He said the acceptance of low-cost is different from full-services and it has been a big battle for AirAsia to convince people from different types of airports.
“I think the future is good for AirAsia. Today’s visit by the Prime Minister has shown the confidence that we are heading in the right directions.
“We will eventually get another low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) not just only at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) but also in Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Penang and in other Asean countries,” he said.
He said the airline will have 500 planes by 2027.
Fernandes said AirAsia was upbeat about making Kuala-Lumpur the “Dubai of the East” for low-cost air travel with additional 20-30 million passengers from its target of carrying 89 million passengers this year.
“He added AirAsia will have over 300 routes to more than 130 destinations in 26 countries, making the group as the fourth-largest airline in Asia.
Last year, the group carried 71 million passengers.
Fernandes said buying and owning more aircraft, instead of leasing, would remain its growth strategy.
On its newly-formed logistic arm Redbox Logistics, Fernandes said the appointment of Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh will be a big advantage for the group to capitalise on its logistic division.
“We have the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ). We have a big advantage of having 230 aircraft for the logistic business.
“Datuk Shukrie has many years of experience in logistic business. We see his involvement in developing logistic platform for DFTZ for Asean and it is going to be powerful logistic company, primarily because we have the aircraft,” he said.