AirAsia has signed two major agreements with Airbus, covering the order of an additional 12 A330neo and 30 A321XLR aircraft, as well as a memorandum of agreement to support the development of the Malaysian aerospace industry.
As part of the deal, Airbus will expand its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) presence in Malaysia and establish the Airbus Malaysia Digital Initiative to enhance the competitiveness of the local aerospace sector through the application of new digital technologies, in line with the government’s vision to make Malaysia a regional aerospace hub.
Airbus will also boost its commitment to the Aerospace Malaysia Innovation Centre (AMIC) – of which it is a founding member – by appointing an Innovation Technical Director and increasing its funding for joint research programmes, including into the production of sustainable aviation biofuels in Malaysia.
The agreements were signed by Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury and Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Chairman of AirAsia X Berhad for the aircraft purchase and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Executive Chairman of AirAsia Group Berhad for the industrial projects.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Also present was AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
Airbus is the largest international partner for the Malaysian aerospace industry. Its sourcing and services businesses in the country are now valued at some US$400 million per annum for the local economy, a figure expected to rise to more than US$550 million every year with these new initiatives.
AirAsia also signed an agreement for a firm order of 12 additional Airbus A330neo aircraft, (taking the total from 66 to 78 A330neos on order) and 30 state-of-the-art A321XLR aircraft, to join AirAsia’s future long-haul fleet. The introduction of the A321XLR provides AirAsia X with greater flexibility to better manage capacity on key routes as well as respond to seasonal demand. The A321XLR also gives AirAsia X an advantage when it comes to exploring opportunities to operate non-stop flights between Southeast Asia and secondary cities in countries like Australia, China and Japan.