KUALA LUMPUR (XFN-ASIA) - Budget carrier AirAsia will double its A320 fleet size to 200 jets amid growing passenger demand and route expansion in Southeast Asia, an industry source said.
The source also said that three individual shareholders from AirAsia and Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) will form an alliance to start long-haul services to London and China as early as July using three aircraft -- a combination of Airbus A330s and Boeing (nyse: BA
- news - people ) 777-300s.
An announcement to double AirAsia's fleet will be made in the weeks ahead while AirAsia and FAX will hold a press conference on Friday at 0230 GMT regarding its long-haul ambitions, the source said.
'Certainly, there is a need for another 100 A320 aircraft. AirAsia will be putting in its orders to meet growing demand.
'It is estimated to cost billions of dollars. Deliveries may start in 2012 or earlier once the original 100 aircraft are delivered,' the source, who is familiar with the plans, told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.
AirAsia now has a fleet of 50 aircraft -- 15 A320s and 35 Boeing 737-300s and has opted for Airbus in order to reduce costs with a fleet of just one single type of jet.
It currently has orders for 100 A320s.