AirAsia X to ground A340s, swap A330-200 slots, after Europe pull-out

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Malaysian long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X will remove its two Airbus A340-300s from regular scheduled services once it suspends its European routes this March.

It is also in talks with Airbus to swap slots for the two A330-200s it is due to receive this year and were meant for its European operations, for future A330-300 slots, said its CEO Azran Osman-Rani at an interview with Flightglobal Pro.

The two A340s, on lease to AirAsia X till 2015, are being operated on the carrier's London and Paris services.

"We're going to look at all the opportunities we have - whether someone wants to dry or wet lease them. But we don't foresee having them as part of our regular scheduled services," he added.

Airbus is working with others to take over the -200 slots this year and Osman-Rani said both airlines and aircraft lessors have expressed interest.

The airline is due to receive 18 A330-300s over the next four years and plans to deploy them to new destinations in existing markets such as Australia, Japan, South Korea and China or increase frequencies on its existing routes.

"There's a lot of growth opportunity to deploy these planes coming in, without even thinking about deploying them to new destinations," said Osman-Rani.

AirAsia X also has 10 Airbus A350s on order, due to be delivered starting 2017.