PRIME Minister David Cameron hailed an new order for 100 Airbus A320 today, during a visit to the company’s Broughton wing-making plant.
He joined the founder of AirAsia, Asia’s largest low-cost carrier, Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes at the plant which employs more than 6,000 staff.
The contract covers an extra 64 A320neo (new engine option) and 36 A320ceo (conventional engine option) aircraft for operation across the carrier’s network.
The wings will be made at the Broughton plant, which the VIP party toured today meeting 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.
Mr Cameron said: “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.
“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.”
John Leahy, chief operating officer, customers, Airbus, said: “AirAsia is one of the great success stories of recent years in the airline business.
“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.”
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.