Asiana Airlines has finalized an agreement to buy 25 Airbus A321-200NEO aircraft as it looks to gradually phase out its current stock of older A321-200 aircraft starting in 2019.
Of Asiana’s total fleet of 85 planes, 33 of those are older model A321 and A320 models which are used primarily for short-haul flights to neighboring Japan, China or longer distance journeys to Southeast Asia.
The planes, which are set to cost $115 million apiece, have 180 more seats than the current models and are slated as being to consume as much as 20 percent less fuel through the use of lighter weight materials and advanced engine technology.
“We believe A321NEO will bring about fuel-saving effects as well as flying distance increase to take its service up a notch,” said Asiana CEO Kim Soo-Cheon, who was joined by the head of Airbus’ Fabrice Brégier for a signing event on Tuesday.
The signing was capped off talks that started with an announcement in February that South Asiana Airlines had signed a Letter of Intent with Airbus for the purchase.
“The A320 Family is a proven success with Asiana Airlines and Air Busan, combining reliability, excellent operating economics and superior passenger comfort,” said Kim following the signing of the letter of intent.
“With the A321neo we will be able to look forward to even greater levels of efficiency, with a 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and increased flying range. The acquisition of the A321neo underscores our strategy to operate only the most modern and efficient aircraft that the industry has to offer.”
The A321 is the largest model of Airbus’ best-selling single aisle A320 family, which has seen more than 11,500 orders and more than 6,400 aircraft delivered to more than 400 operators worldwide.