AirAsia orders 200 more engines for US$2.7b

AirAsia has signed a firm order with Airbus for the purchase of 100 A321neo aircraft, bringing the total number of A320 Family ordered to 575.

LONDON: Low-cost carrier AirAsia has ordered 200 more CFM LEAP-1A engines to power its 100 new Airbus A321neo aircraft which expects to deliver 15% fuel efficiency and reduction in carbon monoxide emissions.

It said on Wednesday the order, which expands its LEAP engine fleet to nearly 730 engines, is valued at US$2.7bil at list price. 

AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri  Tony Fernandes said this order for the larger A321neo “is an important element in our long-term growth and expansion strategy”.

“Choosing the right engine to power them is critical to the success of that strategy. For us, the LEAP-1A was the obvious choice. This engine has demonstrated the promised 15% fuel efficiency and we are quite familiar with the reliability inherent in CFM products and the impact that this has on our operations.” 

As the single largest Airbus A320 operator in the Asia-Pacific region, AirAsia operates a fleet of 170 CFM-powered Airbus A320s with 304 still to be delivered.

The LEAP-1A engine powered the first flight of the Airbus A321neo in February 2016. The engine is on track for entry into service in mid-2016 on the initial A320neo and will provide operators with a 15% improvement in fuel efficiency, a 50% margin to new emissions regulations; a dramatically lower noise signature; and CFM’s industry-leading reliability and low overall operating costs. 

AirAsia said the agreement for the engines was signed by Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia – who represented Fernandes -- while CFM International was represented by its president and CEO Jean-Paul Ebanga. 

It was witnessed by AirAsia group head of engineering Anaz Ahmad Tajuddin and vice president and general manager of CFM parent company GE Aviation Chaker Chahrour. 

AirAsia, a pioneer in low-cost travel, has been a CFM customer for more than a decade. AirAsia was an early LEAP customer and placed its initial order for 400 LEAP-1A engines — the largest in aviation history at the time — to power A320neo aircraft in June 2011. The airline placed a follow-on order for 128 additional engines in 2013. 

AirAsia began operations in 2001 and has continued to see steady growth. Today, the airline and its subsidiaries operate close to 1,000 flights per day to more than 120 destinations in 24 countries. 

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