AirAsia plans to buy additional 100 A320neo: source

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6, 2011 (AFP) - Southeast Asia's largest budget carrier AirAsia said Wednesday that it plans to buy an additional 100 Airbus A320neo passenger jets on top of the 200 it ordered last month.

The announcement comes two weeks after AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes broke aviation records by putting in a record order for 200 of the medium-haul planes -- with a catalogue price of $18.2 billion -- at the Paris Air Show.

The order was the largest single order for Airbus in terms of numbers of aircraft.

"In addition to the 200 which is a firm order, AirAsia is putting an option to order another 100 A320neo aircraft. Our target is to have 500 planes," a top official familiar with the deal told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"I don't think we will have funding problems to acquire 300 aircraft (costing about $27 billion)."

Fernandes has said AirAsia plans to expand its fleet of jets from 93 to around 500 by 2020 to meet surging demand for air travel across the booming continent.

Besides the 200 Airbus A320neo it ordered last month, it has another 75 Airbus aircraft already in the pipeline.

AirAsia has a fleet of 93 aircraft mainly A320s serving about 160 routes in Asia and more than 520 flights daily from hubs in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. It will take delivery of another seven this year.

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