AirAsia X 'eagerly awaiting' A330neo

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AirAsia X (AAX) says it has given Airbus its inputs on the improvements it wants to see in a re-engined A330, and that it is "eagerly awaiting" the launch of the jet.

"We want it, at the right price, with the right engine thrust," AAX chief executive Azran Osman-Rani tells Flightglobal in an interview.

The long-haul low-cost carrier hopes for is an aircraft that will deliver improved economics, fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance - all with the right price tag.

"We can look at the technical specs, but at the end of the day the sticker price is going to be very important," says Azran.

He adds that the carrier has the option to convert its firm orders for 37 A330s to the re-engined version, should Airbus decide to launch the product.

Azran, however, stressed that AAX's strategy is not dependent on the re-engined aircraft.

"With the current engine A330s, we're good to go with a solid 11 hour radius which covers all of Asia Pacific. We don't have to be in Europe and US and can stay in Asia Pacific for the next five years and easily absorb all our planes on order," he explains.

AAX will likely only return to the European market, and start US services, after the delivery of its A350s, or should the A330neo come before that.

Airbus has said that it will reach a decision this year on whether to develop a re-engined version of its A330. There is speculation that it could announce the decision at this year's Farnborough air show, which runs from 14-20 July.

AirAsia has long pushed for the A330neo with its group chief Tony Fernandes saying that the A330neo and A350-900 will be the "perfect combination" for AAX.