AirAsia (AK, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) is looking at converting an unspecified number of its A330neo order slots into A321neo, AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes has said.

According to Bloomberg, Fernandes did not provide any further details although such a shift would be consistent with previous remarks to the effect that the LCC group would prefer to use the A321neo to boost capacity on slot constrained Asian city-pairs.

AirAsia itself currently has 100 A321neo on order from Airbus alongside 304 A320neo (of which twenty-three have thus far been delivered).

The group's longhaul low-cost unit, AirAsia X, has sixty-six A330-900s on order from Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) with a further thirty-four added to the pile back in July this year. Deliveries are due to start at the end of 2019.

In a separate interview, Fernandes told the Nikkei Asian Review that the LCC was also looking at the MRJ70/90 for use in running thinner, short-haul services throughout Asia.

Fernandes said he had held talks with Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and was currently awaiting an offer from them. He did not specify the scope or size of the potential order which, the paper speculated, could be used to curry favour with Japanese regulators and thus gain more slots at Japanese airports for AirAsia Japan. The Japanese LCC's growth has taken on a new urgency, Fernandes, said, in the wake of the collapse of its AirAsia China (Zhengzhou) project in August.

"Our plans are very big but they depend on the regulators," Fernandes told the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo this week.

Despite having launched just over a year ago, AirAsia Japan has remained stuck at a fleet of two A320ceo plying a single route - Nagoya Chubu-Sapporo Chitose. As such, Fernandes said he plans to start flights from Nagoya to Phuket (Thailand) and Denpasar (Indonesia) as well as other Japanese domestic destinations including the northern city of Sendai.