AirAsia growth fuels aircraft purchase talks

AirAsia is in talks to purchase a further 100 aircraft to support its growth across the region.

The Malaysian budget carrier is adding 266 aircraft by 2016 to its existing fleet of 112 Airbus A320s.

And it revealed that discussions have started about buying an additional 100 aircraft to fuel its rapid growth.

The fleet expansion plans were disclosed as the carrier saw net operating profits rise by 18% to RM205.04 million in the three months to September 30 over the same period last year

AirAsia achieved record revenues of RM1.24 billion, up 14% from the third quarter last year as the number of passengers flown grew by 9% to 4.75 million.

The group’s subsidiaries in Thailand and Indonesia also recorded profits, with Indonesia AirAsia coming into the black after a loss in the third quarter of 2011.

The company also has start-up operations in Japan and the Philippines.

Group chief executive Tony Fernandes said, “As the group take big steps to prepare for the Asean open skies [aviation agreement covering ten countries in Southeast Asia] that will commence in 2015, there have been a lot of developments across all five affiliates this quarter.

“We are focused and disciplined in terms of cost and our business model. We have the lowest cost base compared to other airlines in the world and it would be hard for others to replicate that.

“With that said, AirAsia has always welcomed competition as we believe that the Asean market is still underserved.”

He added, “My goal is to improve Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia, and to ensure profitability similar to what Malaysia has achieved.

“Philippines AirAsia and AirAsia Japan will be slow but there are a lot of potential in these markets. In the near term, I will continue to focus on AirAsia’s three core markets – Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.”

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