AirAsia Group has converted its thirteen remaining A320-200N orders into A321-200Ns as it looks to exclusively operate the latter type over the coming years.

"We have always been in close engagement with Airbus and we look forward to a full A321-200neo fleet conversion that will further solidify our lowest cost base and lean cost structure. The A321neo will revolutionise the flying experience for our guests as we accelerate our business to meet a resurgence in air travel post-COVID-19," President (Airlines) of AirAsia Group Bo Lingam said.

Following the adjustment, AirAsia Group has an outstanding commitment with Airbus for 362 A321-200Ns. It does not have any other aircraft orders.

Out of the 13 converted A320-200N orders, five aircraft were due for delivery to AirAsia and eight to AirAsia India.

The South-East Asian low-cost carrier holding has traditionally relied on the A320-200 and, more recently, the A320-200N as the cornerstone of its fleet. It took the first A321-200NX in 2019 and has thus far inducted just four units: two operated by AirAsia and two by Thai AirAsia. This sub-fleet constitutes a tiny fraction of AirAsia Group's total narrowbody fleet, comprising 170 A320-200s and forty-five A320-200Ns, the ch-aviation fleets module shows.

The A321-200NXs in AirAsia's configuration can seat up to 236 passengers in a single-class layout, compared to 180 for A320-200s and 186 for A320-200Ns. The airline said that the larger narrowbodies could also carry more bellyhold cargo, which has become AirAsia's important source of revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, AirAsia Group announced it obtained a guarantee from state-owned financial institution Danajamin Nasional Berhad for 80% of a syndicated loan of MYR500 million ringgits (USD119.5 million). The guarantee for a club loan will be routed through Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan, a Ministry of Finance entity, under the Malaysian COVID-19 relief scheme. The loan will be provided by three unnamed banks.

"This approval from the Malaysian government is a strong endorsement of AirAsia Group’s ability to recover fast and provides a welcome boost to our overall fundraising strategy as we prepare to return to the skies in all of our key markets," Executive Chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said.