The new Airbus A321neo is projected to form the backbone of operations in AirAsia’s ambitious push for new destinations and markets in Asia, as the low-cost carrier on Wednesday took delivery of its first of 353 A321neo order in Hamburg, Germany.
The largest and newest variant of the A320neo family, the A321neo is 6.93m longer than the A320neo, fitting 50 more seats per aircraft and 40 per cent more cargo space. The A321neo also offers up to 20 per cent fuel savings and has a longer flight range of up to five hours, an additional one hour more than the flight range of the A320neo.
The A321neo aircraft features a single class layout with 236 seats, and boasts some of the latest aircraft technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, and 50 per cent less noise as compared to previous generation aircraft.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Hamburg on Wednesday, AirAsia Indonesia CEO, Veranita Yosephine said: ”The A321neo is truly a remarkable aircraft incorporating the very latest technology, and we could not be more thrilled that it will be the new backbone of our operations across the AirAsia group.
“With the 25 per cent increase capacity and 10 per cent reduction in cost per seat, the A321neo will enable us to maintain low fares and it will enable us to grow and be the largest low-cost carrier in Asia.”
Speaking at an earlier press briefing at the Airbus conference centre in Hamburg, a day before the delivery of the first A321neo delivery, AirAsia’s senior manager, aircraft planning & evaluation, Matthew Glaus, said: “Lower fuel burn per passenger will result in lower operating costs per seat mile and improved fuel efficiency. A higher seat capacity will benefit high density routes while a longer flight range will allow AirAsia to open new markets and new destinations.”
The new A321neo aircraft will initially operate from its Kuala Lumpur hub to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. While no new destinations have been announced, the A321neo has the range capability to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Perth, Shanghai and Beijing, which was not possible with the A320neo. These routes are served by AirAsia’s sister company, AirAsia X, which operates the A330-300 and the A330-900 aircraft.