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Fernandes sees better 2H for AirAsia as it brings back planes into operation

Publish date: Tue, 25 Jun 2024, 05:40 PM

LONDON (June 25): Capital A Bhd (KL:CAPITALA) expects to see an improved financial performance for the upcoming second quarter, and the second half of 2024 (2H2024), for AirAsia in view of improving demand for travel, with the carrier bringing back over 250 planes into operation. 

Capital A chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said the low-cost carrier would also be capable of facing rising global airfares, as it continues to provide the lowest fares among all airlines. 

“Obviously, the biggest job for us was bringing back all the 250 planes that were not flying due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and we still have not got all of them back. We have about 20 more to go,” he said at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2024 here.

He is also hopeful of bringing all the remaining aircraft into operation by year end, contributing towards a better performance for 2H2024. 

“We have now started taking deliveries from Airbus, and this is the first time since Covid-19 that we are adding planes, and of course, we have phenomenal growth potential, as we have about 400 aircraft coming in,” he said.

The company has an order book of 647 aircraft, consisting of 612 in the A320 family and 35 in the A330 family.

It has taken delivery of 250 aircraft, with the balance comprising 362 A321neo aircraft, which includes 36 A321LR, as well as 20 A321XLR and 15 A330neo to be delivered over the next decade.

In terms of route expansion, Fernandes said AirAsia will be flying to Nairobi, Kenya, in October, making AirAsia the first airline in Southeast Asia and the first low-cost carrier to fly into the destination.

“I think it is amazing for Malaysian, Southeast Asian and African businesses to be connected directly between Kuala Lumpur and Nairobi. This will be the first of many destinations in Africa, as we continue to build the AirAsia network globally,” he said. 

He noted that the route expansion for Nairobi would also boost the cargo segments and businesses between Malaysia and Kenya, while students and tourists remain an important target market.

As for Asia Digital Engineering (ADE), the engineering and maintenance subsidiary of Capital A, Fernandes said it had shown significant growth with the new hangar facility, spanning 8.19 hectares, being constructed in two phases. The first phase is slated to be operational by August, while the second phase will be ready for operations by October.

“The team is very aggressive, and at the moment, there is no plan for an initial public offering, but I am sure at some point, they will look at it,” he added.

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