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AirAsia X, Cathay Pacific order US$13 billion worth of airplanes

By Staff Reports on December 23, 2013

Two Asian airlines ordered a combined US$13 billion (9.5 billion euros) worth of airplanes from Airbus and Boeing.

AirAsia X, the low-fare airline affiliate of the AirAsia Group, has placed the largest single airline firm order for 25 more A330-300s with Airbus.

This is the world’s largest single order in a single purchase agreement, valued at US$6 billion (4.3 billion euros), by an airline for the A330-300 fleet. This increases AirAsia X’s order to 51 from Airbus, supplemented by an order of six A330-300s leased from the International Lease Finance Corporation, bringing AirAsia X’s total confirmed fleet deliveries to 57 by 2019.

AirAsia X will start taking delivery of its A330-300s in 2015 as it begins a major expansion of its network across the Asia-Pacific region.

“This order stamps our firm intent to dominate the long-haul, low-cost carrier space and marks the next phase in our development to be the undisputed global market leader,” Tan Sri’ Tony Fernandes, co-founder and director of AirAsia X, said. “The aircraft orders would further cater to our expansion plans in Malaysia, and the proposed new Thai AirAsia X hub as well as other long-haul ventures planned across Asia. The developments will complement the AirAsia Group’s long-term vision of developing its presence in key markets in Asia and strengthen the connectivity between long-haul and short-haul low-cost network.”

AirAsia X operates 15 A330-300s on services linking its Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, base to 18 destinations in Asia, Australia and Saudi Arabia. In addition to A330s, the carrier also has 10 A350-XWB aircraft on order for future delivery.

“AirAsia X has proven that it is possible to build a highly successful low-cost, long-haul business,” Farbrice Brégier, president and CEO of Airbus, said. “And the A330 is the perfect platform for such operations, with the lowest operating costs, true long-range flying capability and a proven track record track of exceptional technical reliability. We look forward to working with AirAsia X as it continues to innovate in the low-cost, long-haul market.”

Boeing and Cathay Pacific also announced airplane orders. Cathay Pacific became Asia’s first 777X customer with an order for 21 777-9X airplanes, as part of Cathay’s future long-haul fleet strategy. The order is valued at more than US$7 billion (5.1 billion euros).

“The 777-9X promises us improved payload range capability and reduced operating costs, in addition to a significant reduction in environmental emissions,” John Slosar, chief executive of Cathay Pacific Airways, said. “We think it will be an ideal fit for long-haul destinations in North America and Europe, in particular those routes where we carry high volumes of passengers and cargo each day.”

The 777X stands as the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by value and is targeted for first delivery in 2020.

“Cathay Pacific and Boeing share a long-term partnership that spans four decades,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner said. “We are honored to continue our tradition of launching new airplane models with Cathay Pacific in Asia, starting with the Rolls-Royce-powered 747-400 and the original 777-200s, 777-300s, 777-300ERs and naturally, now with the 777X family.”