Despite its small size, operating a single leased Airbus A330, Malaysia's AirAsia X has managed to generate enough hype to ensure it is never out of the headlines for too long. The carrier had hoped to launch with more than one aircraft but the leasing market for A330s is incredibly tight.
Today the long-haul, low-cost carrier set its PR team in motion once again to publicise the signing of a firm contract with Airbus for 10 A330-300s, adding to the 15 A330-300s ordered by the airline in June 2007. Air Asia X will begin taking delivery of its first purchased aircraft this October.
The carrier assembled a group of local big wigs and Airbus representatives to celebrate today's signing. Pictured from left to right are: Airbus executive vice-president Asia-Pacific, Africa and Corporate Jet, Eduoard Ullmo; AirAsia X chief executive Azran Osman Rani; AirAsia X chairman Dato' Seri Kalimullah Hassan; Malaysian transport minister YB Ong Tee Keat; Airbus chief operating officer customers John Leahy; German ambassador to Malaysia Herbert D Jess; French ambassador to Malaysia Alan Du Borispean; and director general of Malaysia's civil aviation department Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
There is still sceptism over whether the concept of a long-haul, low-cost airline can actually work - especially with fuel prices continuing to skyrocket - but AirAsia X certainly seems to be doing a good job of getting its brand out there, which is surely an important first step.