Airbus Said to Win Fernandes’ AirAsia for Revamped A330Neo

Jul 15, 2014 8:13 am ET

(Updates with AirAsia X A330 fleet in fifth paragraph.)

July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Airbus Group NV is poised to win an order from AirAsia Group for its revamped A330neo wide-body airliner introduced yesterday at the Farnborough Air Show, people familiar with the discussions said.

The manufacturer is negotiating the deal with the Asian discount carrier at the industry expo and may make an announcement as early as today, said the people, who asked not to be identified because no deal has been made public. AirAsia may commit to about 50 units of the long-distance plane, one of the people said.

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Tony Fernandes has pushed Airbus to fit new engines on its A330, which is popular in Asia on high-density routes. The company would be the first airline to sign up for the jet, after Airbus pulled in three orders for the aircraft from leasing companies at the event since yesterday.

Airbus had no comment, and Fernandes didn’t respond to calls seeking comment. The company has scheduled an announcement at 2:30 p.m. today to unveil an order, without disclosing the partner. Reuters earlier reported that AirAsia is close to a deal for about 50 A330neos, citing people it didn’t identify.

AirAsia X Bhd., the long-haul low-fare affiliate of AirAsia Bhd., already operates 23 Airbus A330 aircraft.

In December, Airbus won a deal from AirAsia X for 25 A330s valued at $6 billion. The orders were for the A330-300 variant with deliveries starting 2015.

When contacted, Azran Osman-Rani, chief executive officer of AirAsia X, said “there might be something in the next few hours.”

--With assistance from Kyunghee Park in Singapore.