Japanese low-cost carrier Peach Aviation has converted an order for Airbus A320neo-family jets to include the longer-range A321LR.

The airline will become the first operator in Asia to introduce the variant.

Peach Aviation had agreed to acquire 10 A320neos in November 2016, but has revised the deal to take eight A320neos and two A321LRs.

The decision will “greatly extend” its network reach, says the carrier, enabling it to become a medium-haul low-cost airline in north-east Asia.

Peach will take delivery of the A321LRs from the third quarter of fiscal year 2020. It has yet to make an engine choice.

The aircraft is capable of being configured with up to 240 passengers, as a result of a redesigned fuselage which modifies the standard A321’s door locations.

Chief executive Shinichi Inoue says the jets will “play a key role” as Peach “opens up a completely new chapter of medium-range low-cost carrier service” from Japan.

As a result of its integration of Vanilla Air, Peach will have over 50 aircraft and a network comprising a similar number of routes.

Inoue says that Peach faced scepticism during its entry into the low-cost market, and suggestions that such services were “not feasible” in Japan owing to the costs of running an airline.

“However, we have benefited from partnering with Airbus and using the A320,” he says. “We are not the first Japanese low-cost carrier to post revenue growth and positive income for the fifth fiscal year in a row.

“We have demonstrated that low-cost business is feasible in Japan – depending on how it’s managed.”

But the carrier has not yet confirmed the number of seats to be installed on the long-range jets. Its A320neos are likely to be fitted with 188 seats, the airline states.

Peach will be able to operate routes from Japan to destinations up to 9h flight time from its base, says Airbus.

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Source: Cirium Dashboard