Low-cost group AirAsia is converting a number of its Airbus A321neo orders into A321LRs, as it prepares to resume new aircraft deliveries from the middle of the year. 

The order swap will see 62 A321neos converted, one for one, to the longer-range variant. AirAsia, which has operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, has 326 A321neos on order. 

A321 AirAsia Philippines

Source: AirAsia

Future deliveries will see the carrier take longer-range LR variant

In January, group advisor Tony Fernandes, who is also the CEO of parent Capital A, said AirAsia was “looking at” whether to convert some of the A321neo commitments into orders for the A321LR. 

AirAsia also has 20 A321XLR and 15 A330neo aircraft on order. In June, the airline group will resume deliveries of A321neos, with the first jet likely to go to its Malaysian unit. 

The new aircraft will gradually replace its fleet of A320s, as AirAsia transitions to become an all-A321neo operator. 

Fernandes states: “These new specification aircraft will enable greater flexibility on existing short- to medium-haul routes and network expansion to places we have never flown before, including to exciting secondary markets such as North Asia, Australia and Central Asia from Southeast Asia.” 

He made the comments – and confirmed the order rejig – during a visit by Airbus’s commercial aircraft CEO Christian Scherer on 22 February. 


Fernandes also discloses the airline group’s target of being a “low-cost network carrier”, making use of hub-and-spoke model to expand operations to Europe, the USA and Africa. 

While the narrowbody jets allow it to fly to secondary markets, Fernandes envisages the A330neo fleet serving to “expand our medium- to long-haul network to the European continent”, as well as enabling one-stop operations to the US East Coast via Europe, and the US West Coast via Japan. 


Source: AirAsia

AirAsia has outlined its future long-haul network serving both Europe and the USA

An accompanying graphic shows the extent of the group’s prospective long-haul network: European points floated include London, Barcelona, Bratislava and Stockholm. In the USA, AirAsia is eyeing a return to Honolulu, as well as opening routes to New York, Toronto, San Francisco and Los Angeles.