AirAsia X considers switching part of Airbus order to narrowbody jets: CEO


An Airbus A321 neo flies during a flying display at the first day of the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport near Paris, France June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol – RC1E28026600

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – AirAsia X Bhd (AIRX.KL), which has yet to firm up a tentative order for 34 Airbus (AIR.PA) A330neo widebody jets placed in July, is considering switching some of them to narrowbody A321neos, the CEO of its Malaysian arm said on Friday.

“This is something the team is discussing,” AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail told reporters on the sidelines of a CAPA Centre for Aviation conference.

He said the number that could be switched to A321neos had not been decided, adding the aircraft could be used in smaller markets where widebodies were too big or in off-peak seasons.

Ismail said the deal signed with Airbus in July for 34 A330neos was a memorandum of understanding that had yet to be signed off on by the company’s board, but an earlier order for 66 A330neos was firm, with deliveries set to start by the end of 2019.

The airline, however, had yet to rule out the future purchase of Boeing Co (BA.N) 787s, he said, as a result of potential problems with the Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (RR.L) engines on the A330neo.

Similar Rolls-Royce engines on the 787s have had significant issues requiring maintenance fixes. AirAsia X would consider buying 787s with General Electric (GE.N) engines, Ismail said.

Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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