AirAsia confirms deferring delivery of 8 Airbus A320s

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 05 2009 08:34 PM | Updated as of Oct 06 2009 05:19 AM

KUALA LUMPUR - Southeast Asia's biggest budget carrier AirAsia on Monday confirmed a report that it will defer delivery of eight Airbus A320-200 aircraft by three years.

"We will defer eight of the 24 deliveries (scheduled) for 2011," its group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes told the Star daily.

The report was confirmed by an official at AirAsia but no further details were given.

The decision comes after the airline in August said it would put back the delivery of eight other A320 aircraft to 2014 from their original due date in 2010, citing "infrastructural constraints" at Kuala Lumpur's airport.

AirAsia has now deferred a third of the 48 aircraft deliveries that had been slated for 2010 and 2011.

Fernandes told the Star on Monday that the latest decision was due to concerns over whether a new lost-cost carrier terminal at Kuala Lumpur will be completed on time by the third quarter of 2011.

In February, the Malaysian government vetoed an ambitious plan by AirAsia to build a $460-million airport. It said Malaysia Airport Holdings, which runs Kuala Lumpur International Airport, would instead build a new budget terminal to replace AirAsia's existing facility.

The global airline industry has been hit hard by the economic downturn but AirAsia has remained bullish and its second quarter net profits surged to 139.2 million ringgit ($40 million) from 9.4 million ringgit a year ago, due to higher passenger numbers and lower fuel costs.