AirAsia X wants to lease five A340-300s:CEO
Long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X wants to lease up to five Airbus A340-300s so it can fly to new markets in Europe and New Zealand, its chief executive said Thursday.
"For the right price, we would like to lease five A340-300s, although they are in tight supply," chief executive Azran Osman Rani told Dow Jones Newswires.
"Depending on the availability of the aircraft, we want to move to new markets like Germany, France and New Zealand."
AirAsia X, the long-haul unit of Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd, currently flies to Australia's Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne, and Hangzhou in China. It will start flying to London next month.
The carrier currently has a fleet of three A330s and one longer-range A340.
An affiliate of regional low-cost carrier AirAsia and Virgin Group, AirAsia X was launched in January 2007. AirAsia and AirAsia X have common shareholders, including AirAsia founder and CEO Tony Fernandes.
Richard Branson's Virgin Group has taken a 20 percent stake in AirAsia X.
More airlines are opting to lease aircraft than buy them as the global economic downturn puts a squeeze on corporate finances, Singapore-based aircraft leasing firm BOC Aviation said last month.
Azran has said previously that he sees "a lot of business opportunities" despite the deteriorating global economy.
AirAsia X said last month it hoped to launch flights to at least three destinations in Japan by year-end.