AirAsia X May Return to Europe With Upgraded A330 Planes
AirAsia X Sdn., the long-haul arm of Asia’s biggest discount carrier, said a planned order for Airbus SAS’s revamped A330 may let it revive European routes that were unsuccessful with older planes.
“Europe would be much more accessible” with the new aircraft, Chief Executive Officer Azran Osman Rani said in an interview in Sydney yesterday. He declined to say how many A330s the Malaysian carrier will order or when European flights could resume.
The new A330 may be profitable on European services because of its better fuel efficiency and greater capacity, Azran said. The budget carrier ended services to the continent earlier this year because of fuel costs, slowing demand and the introduction of a carbon-emissions levy.
Airbus announced plans to update the twin-engine A330 earlier this month to help compete with Boeing’s 787 and 777 aircraft. The new plane, due to enter service in 2015, will use technologies from the A350 to increase its range and capacity.
AirAsia X, which is focusing services on Asia and Australia, also plans to sell a stake of about 25 percent to 30 percent in an initial public offering, Azran said. AirAsia Bhd. and other existing shareholders’ stakes will be diluted in the sale, he said. AirAsia Bhd. (AIRA) has no plans to sell its entire 18.5 percent holding, he said.
The timing of the offering will depend on the appetite in the Malaysian share market, where several large IPOs are expected, he said.
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