AirAsia X is considering adding Airbus A321neos and A321LRs to its fleet for future route development and frequency increases.
The carrier notes in a recent quarterly results presentation that the narrowbodies could offer variable cost savings of up to 16% and fixed cost savings of up to 5% compared with its A330 fleet.
If it were to proceed with the mixed-fleet plan, A321s could operate around 64% of its core Malaysian unit's network, flying on routes up to 7.9h with 192-236 seats. The A330s – including the 100 A330-900s it has orders and commitments for – would then operate longer routes.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the AirAsia X group operates 31 A330-300s across its Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian units.
The dual-fleet proposal would allow AirAsia X to "grow markets with a smaller aircraft and defend markets with a bigger aircraft", says the carrier.
It tells FlightGlobal that the mixed-fleet operational study "is still in its infancy stage [with] no concrete announcement to be made at the moment".
There is no indication of whether it would look to convert some of the A330-900 order to A321neos or source them from sister carrier AirAsia.
AirAsia Group placed an order for 100 A321neos at the 2016 Farnborough air show. It also holds orders for 273 A320neos which could be substituted for A321neos or A321LRs.