AirAsia to announce today on developing long-haul ops

CEO Tony Fernandes has said AirAsia had not yet made a decision on which aircraft manufacturer to pick. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Group Bhd is to make a major announcement related to developing its long-haul operations this evening.

The briefing, expected to start soon, follows speculation that the company will order new planes.

The announcement comes two days after CEO Tony Fernandes said AirAsia had yet to make a decision on which aircraft manufacturer to pick.

AirAsia has been a steadfast Airbus narrow-body and wide-body customer.

However, recently, the company had talked to Boeing Co about buying the rival 787 jet as an alternative, a person familiar with the discussions told Reuters in April.

Long-haul arm AirAsia X has a firm order for 66 of the fuel-efficient Airbus A330neo widebody jets to replace its older first-generation A330s but it has been pushing back the delivery dates. It is Airbus’ biggest customer for the A330neo.

The airline also has a firm order for 10 A350s placed in 2009, but Fernandes in April said that the jet was “too expensive” and would not be purchased.

AirAsia was discussing the possible purchase of another 100 Airbus A321neo jets as Fernandes and Airbus went down to the wire in parallel negotiations for an expanded order for larger A330neo jets, industry sources said on Sunday.

AirAsia’s Fernandes says not decided on plane order