Malaysia-based AirAsia Group welcomed the first of over 350 Airbus A321neos to its fleet which is expected to play a crucial role in the future of the airline group.

The new aircraft - which was flown from Airbus' Hamburg, Germany facility - is expected to replace the older A320 and A320neo aircraft used by AirAsia and its subsidiaries and become the primary aircraft of the future for the airline.

AirAsia's A321neos have 236 seats - more than 50 compared to the airline's A320s - as it looks to meet the issues of increased air traffic in the region along with growing travel demand in its network.

According to the airline, the first A3221neo will be used on flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Singapore, Bangkok and Shenzhen.

We are proud to welcome our first A321neo today as the backbone of our future operations. This new aircraft will be deployed on popular routes delivering growth opportunities to new markets and add extra capacity in existing markets, particularly where there are expansion constraints due to infrastructure or slot availability limitations. Last year AirAsia flew over 90 million guests and now, with significantly improved operational efficiencies and 50 more seats per aircraft, AirAsia can look forward to flying even more people for less. As our cost is reduced we can pass on any savings to our guests in the form of even lower airfares," said AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said in a statement.

“The new generation state-of-the-art aircraft will allow AirAsia to further boost air connectivity to and from Malaysia ahead of Visit Malaysia 2020, at the same time deliver greater opportunities for tourism, business and trade in line with the government’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030,” Fernandes added.

With an all-Airbus fleet of A320/A321 and A330 family aircraft, AirAsia convered 253 A320neo orders to A321neos making the carrier the largest customer for the aircraft.

Along with the A321neos, AirAsia has placed orders for the A330-900neos and A321XLR for future medium/long-haul operations.

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