Asia’s largest budget airline AirAsia is set to make a $12.57 billion offer for at least 100 jetliners from Airbus Group SE, a Bloomberg report said Monday.
The purchase is likely to consist of A321neo narrow-body aircraft that are each worth $125.7 million and the deal is expected to be announced Tuesday, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
In another development, Virgin Atlantic announced Monday a deal for 12 A350-1000 jets with a list price of $4.3 billion. Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger said at the Farnborough Air Show that the first jets will be delivered to the British airline in 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“It’s early days but certainly [in] the ballpark. It’s certainly something we will discuss,” AirAsia’s CEO and co-founder Tony Fernandes told Malaysia’s New Straits Times newspaper last month when asked about the purchase of A321.
AirAsia will reportedly use some A321neo units to provide improved services to India, the world’s fastest-growing major aviation market. The company’s India operation currently owns six Airbus A320s. India posted a 20 percent growth in air travel last year, reports said. In contrast, China's air passenger travel grew about 10 percent.
AirAsia and Airbus reportedly refused to comment on the deal.
If the AirAsia-Airbus deal comes through, it is likely to be one of the biggest orders to be announced at the Farnborough International Airshow taking place in the United Kingdom this week. AirAsia already owns a total of 199 Airbus aircraft. In 2011, at the Farnborough International Airshow, Fernandes announced an order for 50 A330-900neo airliners, one of the biggest deals at the airshow at the time.