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Air Asia X to buy long haul Airbus A330 jets

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AirAsiaX plans September launch with jampacked A330s

Wednesday June 20, 2007


AirAsiaX, which committed to the A330-300 yesterday at the Paris Air Show, is preparing for a September launch and positioning itself as the planet's lowest-cost long-haul carrier.


It will begin taking delivery of its A330s during the 2008 third quarter in a 396-seat configuration--a record for the type :blink: . "We even looked if we could put seats in the belly," AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes joked. "We're very much of an LCC," he said. "I know people are skeptical about this product, but they were also skeptical when we launched AirAsia five years ago. Now we operate 55 aircraft and have 150 aircraft on order." He added that another order may be coming shortly.


AirAsiaX will launch with leased A330s (ATWOnline, April 2). The new aircraft will give the carrier unit costs of 1.9 cents, Fernandes told ATWOnline. "[Airbus CEO Louis] Gallois has gone out of his way to give us this product," he said, explaining that the new airline asked for higher seat density, an altered galley design and a new IFE product. Cabin configuration will include 28 premium seats in a 2-2-2 alignment. Economy seating will be nine across with a 31-in. pitch.


Future orders may include the A350 XWB, a program that Fernandes said he supports. "We are a firm believer in the A350 product," he stated, although he would not commit to an order. "We believe that the A330 has lots of legs left. It's a hard aircraft to beat on the sector length we will be flying. The A350 would allow us to fly direct, without the need for a technical stop."


AirAsiaX is considering three Middle East airports for technical stops on European flights, including Bahrain. "We are staying away from Etihad, Qatar [Airways] and Emirates," he laughed. He said the 787 is "a bit too small" and that if it opted for the A350 it would be in a 10-abreast configuration.


The new LCC currently is narrowing the list of initial destinations, which may include London Stansted or Manchester, Australia and two cities in China (ATWOnline, Jan 8). Fernandes said he also is considering destinations in Central and Eastern Europe such as Dusseldorf, Frankfurt Hahn, Cologne, Prague and Budapest. The lowest introductory fare for a return Kuala Lumpur-UK flight would be $20, he said. Average fare will be $300, excluding taxes.


by Cathy Buyck





31-in. pitch


Wouldn't it too cramp for a long haul flight??


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31” pitch and 9 abreast on a long haul A330 won’t be comfortable but if ticket is cheap enough, more people will choose AK than full service carrier.




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For economy class fares, legacy airlines (e.g. SQ and MH) generally charge between 4-5 US cents per km (before fees/taxes) and for business class, a whopping 25 US cents per km (before fees/taxes)!



A business class passenger occupies around 3 times gross floor space than an economy class passenger. However, business class fare is generally 5-6 times more than economy class. Even after considering the additional frills provided, business class yields higher return to a legacy airline than economy class.



For various competitive reasons, legacy airlines sometimes offer economy class fares at sub-C/ASK (thus economy class fares of 2-3 US cents per km in not unheard of). By offering economy class seats at sub-C/ASK, high yielding business class is effectively subsidizing the economy class passengers (for Asian legacy airlines, the C/ASK for economy class is around 4 US cents).



After considering the above facts, some airline commentators questioned the viability of AirasiaX’s low cost, long-haul model. They reasoned that the legacy carriers can charge very competitive economy fares because of the higher yield from their business class seats (i.e. business class cross subsidizes economy class).



The buzzword is cost, cost, cost. With C/ASK of 2 US cents, AirasiaX can on daily basis price its economy class seats at between 2-3 US cents per km without incurring losses (promotional prices can even go much lower than 2-3 cents per km). In addition, AirasiaX’s downplayed and so-called “premium seats” are in actuality each a full-sized (and possibly best-of-breed) business class seat and it’s C/ASK is only 7 US cents, minus the frills. Hence don’t forget this: the “premium seats” are AirasiaX’s secret weapons to strike back at the very heart of its legacy competitors.



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A huge model of the A330 used during the launch of Air Asia X was attached with RR engines. I think the most economical engine to run and maintained, as well as an attractive package deal that may include financing, spares etc., will be the one that will win.


Has TF's RR Silver Shadow been delivered yet ??? :rofl:


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