AirAsia short on planes for 2017

AirAsia short on planes for 2017

KUALA LUMPUR -- Budget carrier AirAsia says it is facing a shortage of aircraft for 2017, as travel demand surges just about everywhere it flies.

"We are advancing aircraft for 2017. We are short of aircraft for 2017 at the moment," group chief executive Tony Fernandes said on Thursday at a rollout ceremony for the airline's first Airbus A320neo jet. "Per my last estimate, we are short by about eight or nine aircraft."

Fernandes added that AirAsia, the largest budget airline in Malaysia, is still negotiating with Europe's Airbus. He suggested the shortage could be plugged either through the lease market or with forward deliveries of its orders.

For the quarter ended June, the company recorded a 10 per cent increase in passenger volume. Its load factor, a measure of seat capacity utilization, grew 7 per cent on the year to 87 per cent.

Earlier this month, the company announced a US$12.9 million (S$17.58 million) wet lease agreement for two widebody jets from Indonesia AirAsia Extra, a unit of long-haul affiliate AirAsia X. Wet lease agreements include not only aircraft but also crew, maintenance and insurance.

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