AirAsia officially welcomes the future of its single-aisle fleet with the arrival of its first Airbus A321neo aircraft today, that is set to present the airline group with greater efficiencies and higher capacity.

This is the first of 353 A321neos on order by the AirAsia Group which will eventually replace the existing fleet of A320 and A320neo aircraft throughout the network covering Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan.

It is now set to become the first A321neo aircraft operating in Malaysia.

With 236 seats – a 27% increase in capacity compared to AirAsia’s present fleet of A320 (180 seats) and A320neo (186 seats) – the A321neo will enable AirAsia to serve strong ongoing demand across the network with significant operational efficiencies and open up opportunities to explore new destinations, with more than 10% fuel savings.

AirAsia will initially operate the aircraft from its Kuala Lumpur hub to cities across Asia, with the first destinations including Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore, Bangkok and Shenzhen.

The new aircraft, with registration number 9M-VAA, was welcomed by Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture YB Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, together with AirAsia’s senior management team in a ceremonial event at Sepang Aircraft Engineering (SAE) here today. 

AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said, “We are proud to welcome our first A321neo today as the backbone of our future operations. This new aircraft will be deployed on popular routes delivering growth opportunities to new markets and add extra capacity in existing markets, particularly where there are expansion constraints due to infrastructure or slot availability limitations. Last year AirAsia flew over 90 million guests and now, with significantly improved operational efficiencies and 50 more seats per aircraft, AirAsia can look forward to flying even more people for less. As our cost is reduced we can pass on any savings to our guests in the form of even lower airfares. 

“The new generation state-of-the-art aircraft will allow AirAsia to further boost air connectivity to and from Malaysia ahead of Visit Malaysia 2020, at the same time deliver greater opportunities for tourism, business and trade in line with the government’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030,” he added. 

YB Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi commented, “With Visit Malaysia 2020 fast approaching, the welcoming of the Airbus A321neo aircraft into Malaysia is great news. AirAsia has contributed significantly towards the growth of tourism in Malaysia and with the addition of the Airbus A321neo,  with additional 50 seats as compared to the current Airbus A320neo – AirAsia will continue to enable even more people to fly into Malaysia and experience everything that we have to offer here.” 

“I would like to express my highest gratitude towards AirAsia, as this indirectly contribute towards the increase of foreign tourist arrivals into Malaysia, especially from the Asean region,” added YB Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi. 

Earlier this year, AirAsia converted 253 orders for the A320neo to the larger A321neo version, with a total of 353 aircraft on order, making AirAsia one of the world’s largest customer for the A321neo.

The A321neo is a member of the best-selling Airbus A320 Family incorporating the very latest technologies, such as new generation engines and Sharklets which together aim to deliver over 10% in fuel savings. 

AirAsia Group currently operates a wholly Airbus Family fleet of aircraft, flying out of its hubs in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan.