Selangor Journal
AirAsia planes are seen parked at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2), amid the Covid-19 outbreak, in Sepang, on October 6, 2020. — Picture by REUTERS

AirAsia leases four planes previously operated by MyAirline

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — Low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd has leased four Airbus A320-200 aircraft previously operated by MYAirline Sdn Bhd.

AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd group chief executive officer Bo Lingam said AirAsia had previously leased three of the aircraft before the Covid-19 pandemic from lessor AirCastle Ltd. They were subsequently returned to the lessor and MYAirline leased the aircraft from the lessor.

“When MYAirline stopped operating, the lessor asked if we wanted these planes. We also needed the capacity for next year,” he said, adding that all the leasing processes have been completed to date.

MYAirline suspended its operations on Oct 12, 2023 after less than a year due to financial pressures. The suspension is pending a restructuring and recapitalisation.

Of the four aircraft, he said two of the A320 will be flying on Dec 15 and 16, while the third will be flying in January next year. He did not specific the timeframe for the fourth plane.

On next year’s outlook, Bo is confident to fully reactivate its fleet of 204, underpinned by attractive and good airfare as more countries offer visa-free entry.

“We are hoping to get back to pre-pandemic level and all 204 aircraft will take to the sky by February next year.

“We have a very good view of next year and we should surpass 2019’s (passenger level) soon,” he said.

He also noted that AirAsia will have an additional nine new A321 with 240 seats next year.

“There are no more A320 and all new aircraft will be the A321 from then on,” he clarified.

He does not foresee any downside for aviation at the moment unless there is a sudden spike in fuel prices. He is also hoping for the ringgit to strengthen next year based on economists’ recent positive forecasts.

Net profit for the airline industry is expected to reach US$25.7 billion in 2024, with a 2.7 per cent net profit margin, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said recently (US$1=RM4.66).

This represents a slight improvement over 2023 which is expected to show a US$23.3 billion net profit with a 2.6 per cent net profit margin.

IATA also said about 4.7 billion are expected to travel in 2024, a historic high exceeding 2019 pre-pandemic level of 4.5 billion.

— Bernama

 

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