Malaysian headquartered low-cost airline group AirAsia plans to delay the delivery of eight of the 24 Airbus A320s it is due to receive next year.

An AirAsia spokesman in Kuala Lumpur confirms this in an email to ATI, but he fails to say if AirAsia has reached an agreement with Airbus or for how long the A320s will be deferred for.

According to Flight's ACAS database, the group has 115 A320s on order. The spokesman says that it operates 76 aircraft, mostly A320s. It will phase out its last Boeing 737-300s next year, he adds.

He says that AirAsia wants to delay the eight aircraft because of airport terminal space limitations, which arise from the delay in getting a new low-cost carrier terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

AirAsia has complained that the current low-cost carrier terminal is too small. The government has announced that a new one will be built, but it is unclear when it will be completed.

The group's move to delay aircraft comes as other carriers in the region are struggling to gain financing for aircraft, and are cutting air services in response to the global downturn in air traffic.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes told ATI earlier this month the group would sell a 20% equity in the business through the issuance of new shares. This is being done in an effort to cut the group's debt, he added.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news