Airbus followed Monday’s spectacular order flourish with a strategically important pair of contracts for members of its A330 family. The firm orders, for 15 A330-300s from Malaysia’s Fly Asian Express, and 20 A330-200F freighters from Memphis, Tennessee-based leasing group Intrepid Aviation, raised the company’s two-day firm order tally to 254 and gave Airbus its single largest order for the new A330 freighter, due for certification in late 2009.
A new operating subsidiary of AirAsiaX, the sister company of Malaysian discount carrier AirAsia, Fly Asian Express plans to start flying leased equipment this September from Kuala Lumpur to London and Manchester, England, a destination in Australia and a pair of cities in China. Later destinations will include cities in the Middle East.
For the A330s–due for first delivery in the third quarter of next year–Fly Asian Express director Tony Fernandes plans a seating configuration that will result in near-400-passenger capacity and a cost per available seat mile (CASM) of less than 2 cents. Fares will run some 50 to 60 percent below traditional services, said Fernandes.
Yesterday’s other A330 customer plans to lease the new A330-200Fs to various cargo operators around the world. Already holding a portfolio that includes A300 and A310 freighters, Intrepid hasn’t yet signed a lessee, but it has already chosen to use Rolls-Royce Trent engines in 17 of the airplanes. Airbus expects to deliver the first airplane in 2010.