November 23, 2012
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes has ruled out ordering Bombardier’s CSeries.
The carrier seriously considered buying CSeries aircraft, but decided against it, Fernandes tells AviationWeek. AirAsia is of the view that the CSeries needs to have more seats, he says.
The CSeries CS300 is designed to carry 130-145 passengers, but Bombardier has been pitching a special high-capacity version with 160 seats to AirAsia and other low-cost carriers. To achieve the extra capacity, Bombardier is proposing to reduce the seat pitch to 28 in. and have special slim-line seats. Because of the larger number of passengers on board, Bombardier is also planning to have a second exit door above the wing for the higher capacity version.
Fernandes says airport slot constraints are an issue in Southeast Asia, and as a consequence, carriers in this region are looking to add larger rather than smaller narrowbodies.
AirAsia currently operates an all-Airbus A320 fleet, but Fernandes says it has enough bargaining power with Airbus that it can, if it wants to, convert its A320 orders to A321s.
Some Southeast Asian carriers, such as Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air, have already ordered A321s. Vietnam Airlines is an A321 operator.