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13 December 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron joined the founder of Asia’s largest low cost airline at the Airbus wing assembly plant in Broughton, North Wales to confirm a new order for 100 more A320 family aircraft.
The contract with AirAsia covers an additional 64 A320neo and 36 A320ceo aircraft for operation across the carrier’s network. The wings will be made at the Broughton plant, and the Prime Minister joined Group Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia, Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes to tour the facility and meet some of the staff who will help build the aircraft.
The new order reaffirms AirAsia’s position as the largest A320 Family airline customer in the world. Altogether, the carrier has now ordered 475 single aisle aircraft from Airbus, comprising 264 A320neo and 211 A320ceo. More than 100 aircraft have already been delivered to the airline and are flying out of its bases in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila and Tokyo.
Prime Minister David Cameron: “This is excellent news and a tremendous boost for the workforce and for UK manufacturing.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the strength of the UK aerospace sector and the important role it plays in growing and rebalancing our economy.
“This Government will continue to back UK aerospace; cutting business taxes, investing in exports and working in partnership with the industry to ensure it is fully equipped to compete and thrive in the global race."
Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes said: “This order will meet our additional short and medium term growth requirements as we see demand continue to rise across our network,” said, "The A320 has played a key role in our success, enabling us to offer our passengers the lowest fares possible and completely redefine short haul travel in Asia.”
“AirAsia is one of the great success stories of recent years in the airline business,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers, Airbus. “The repeated confidence the airline places in the A320 is a clear endorsement of the reliability, efficiency and unbeatable operating economics offered by the world’s most modern single aisle product line.”
Tom Williams, Executive Vice President, Programmes and senior UK representative for Airbus said: “This order comes as a huge boost for the teams in Broughton and we are delighted to welcome the Prime Minister and the Chief Executive of AirAsia to the plant to see the skills and expertise of the team in action today.
“We must not underestimate the importance of aerospace engineering and manufacturing in the UK which is highly skilled and high value work, as demonstrated by the important role we play in providing a significant contribution to Airbus commercial airliners.”
AirAsia’s all-A320 fleet currently flies to some 70 destinations on a route network spanning 20 countries across Asia. In addition, affiliate AirAsia X operates widebody A330-300s on longer services from Kuala Lumpur to Northern Asia and Australia.
This latest order from AirAsia will sustain 1,500 jobs in the UK as well as a further 7,500 in the extended supply chain.
In December AirAsia will become the first operator of A320s fitted with “Sharklets”, bringing fuel savings of close to 4 per cent on longer sectors. These savings will increase even further with the arrival of the A320neo, where the combination of new generation engines and Sharklets will see a reduction in fuel consumption of around 15 per cent.
The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling and most modern single aisle product line. To date, more than 8,800 aircraft have been ordered and over 5,300 delivered to more than 380 customers and operators worldwide.