April 16, 2018 / 8:47 AM / 5 days ago

AirAsia X won't buy 'too expensive' Airbus A350: co-group CEO

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Malaysia’s AirAsia X Bhd (AIRX.KL) has no plans to buy the Airbus SE (AIR.PA) A350 widebody jet, the airline’s co-group CEO said on Monday, despite the airline having 10 of them on order.

A Scoot airplane takes off past an Airasia airplane at Changi Airport Terminal 4 in Singapore, April 3, 2018. Picture taken April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

“The A350 is not an aircraft we will buy,” AirAsia X co-group CEO Tony Fernandes said in a Facebook Live chat from London. “Too expensive. Fares would go up.”

AirAsia X, the long-haul arm of AirAsia Bhd (AIRA.KL), placed a firm order for 10 A350s in June 2009. It later ordered 66 A330neos, an updated version of the A330s it has in its current fleet.

The A350-900 has a longer range but also comes with a higher list price of $317.4 million, compared with the $296.4 million price of the A330-900neo. Airlines typically receive large discounts from the list prices.

    Manufacturers sometimes allow airlines to swap models even though they have placed firm orders and paid deposits, meaning AirAsia X might be able to convert the A350 order to other Airbus jets like the A330neo or A320 family.

    The AirAsia group is one of Airbus’ largest customers, but AirAsia X has also been talking to Boeing Co (BA.N) about buying the rival 787-10 jet, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

    A final decision on AirAsia X’s future fleet is expected later this year, the source said on condition of anonymity. The 787-10 has a list price of $325.8 million.

    A spokeswoman for the AirAsia group said it was unable to comment on the fate of the A350 orders or whether the airline was in talks with Boeing about the 787-10.

    Reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore; Additional reporting by Joseph Sipalan in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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