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AirAsia X buys three more A330s, IPO on track

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28, 2011 – Long-haul budget carrier AirAsia X said Monday it has ordered three Airbus A330-200s to service its expanding European routes, and that plans for a share offering this year were on track.

The three aircraft, which have a list price of 1.5 billion ringgit ($492 million) in total, are scheduled for delivery from 2014, bringing the number of A330s on order to 28.

"The purchase of the new A330-200s will make the economies of long haul flying more viable," said Azran Osman-Rani, chief executive of Malaysia-based . AirAsia X.

"The planes are suitable for future European routes, and also to be used on our London and Paris routes," he told a news conference.

The airline also said that plans for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) this year were running on schedule, although it must first win approval for its route expansion plans from the Malaysian government.

"One of the factors we have to look at before going for an IPO is the route allocation policy and we have to determine what this is going to be," said Azran.

"One of the most important things for us is the issue of equity. The expansion of AirAsia X is inevitable, but getting the money to support the 20 planes that we want to buy is something we have to consider."

AirAsia X founder Tony Fernandes said that the company could be dual-listed, possibly on a US bourse as well as on the Malaysian stock exchange.

"We are on track for the IPO and it would be great if we can get a dual listing as this would give added prestige to Malaysia," Fernandes said.

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AirAsia X is hoping to increase its revenue of 1.3 billion ringgit last year to 2.0 billion in 2011. "We are looking at a 50 to 60 percent growth in revenue this year," Azran said.

He said that passenger numbers hit 1.92 million last year and the airline is targeting 2.7 million passengers by the end of this year.

An affiliate of regional low-cost carrier AirAsia and Virgin Group, the Malaysia-based AirAsia X was launched in January 2007.

It flies to 14 destinations — London, Taipei, Tehran, Paris, Seoul, Tokyo, China (Tianjin, Hangzhou, Chengdu), Australia (Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth) and India (Mumbai, Delhi).

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