Malaysian low-fare carrier AirAsia’s planned long-haul associate airline has taken delivery of its first aircraft ahead of its launch in the coming weeks.
The new airline, which will be 20%-owned by AirAsia and which will operate using the same name under a brand licensing arrangement, says in a statement that its first aircraft arrived today at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
It says the used Airbus A330-300 is being leased for six years from AWAS. The new carrier, which also goes by the name AirAsia X, had hoped to start with more than one aircraft but it has had difficulty souring A330s from the lease market.
On order with Airbus through purchase arrangements are 15 new A330-300s, deliveries of which start in September next year. Those aircraft will seat more than 390 passengers, although the aircraft on lease from AWAS has fewer seats.
The new airline, which will also be 20%-owned by the Virgin Group and 60%-owned by some of the key shareholders of short-haul carrier AirAsia, plans to launch operations in the coming weeks to the Gold Coast in Australia and Hangzhou in China.
It says it will be "the world’s first truly long-haul low-cost airline".