sepang (Malaysia): AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes said Monday he expects the airline to expand its fleet of jets from 93 to around 500 by 2020 to meet surging demand for air travel across the booming continent.
“It is really up to us how we take delivery but honestly 500 aircraft is very achievable,” he told reporters after announcing a $200 million joint-venture deal with Canadian firm CAE to run an airline training centre.
Fernandes said AirAsia has placed an order of 175 A320 aircraft which will be fully delivered by 2015 but to meet its expansion plans in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam it would need another 200 aircraft.
“We could be taking three planes a month by then (from 2015) which is 36 planes a year ... over five years that is another 200-odd planes,” he said.
AirAsia has a fleet of 93 aircraft serving about 160 routes in Asia and over 520 flights daily from hubs in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. It will take delivery of another seven this year.
Fernandes made the remark amid reports the airline, which is the continent’s largest budget carrier by fleet size, could be set to conclude a deal with Airbus for up to 200 Airbus A320 jets at this week’s Paris Air Show.
The aviation tycoon declined to confirm the reports but said he will make a further announcement at the Le Bourget aviation show in the French capital on Thursday.
Earlier Fernandes said the Asian Aviation Academy will train pilots, cabin crew, maintenance workers and ground personnel for AirAsia and other airlines in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region.
Montreal-based CAE provides simulation and modelling technologies and integrated training for civil aviation industry and defence forces.