Southeast Asia’s leading budget carrier AirAsia would look into C919, China’s first homegrown large passenger jet which recently completed its maiden test flight, AirAsia’s chief executive said Thursday.
“It is an interesting aircraft, as soon as the test light is up, we will look at it,” AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes told reporters after the group’s annual general meeting here.
As at December, 2016, AirAsia operates with a fleet of 174, with average age of 6.5 years.
Fernandes also said that AirAsia has a great relationship with China, and it has tied up with several Chinese companies, such as Huawei, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Tencent.
As the first potential foreign low cost carrier to enter China, Fernandes hopes to see some progress of the group’s Chinese venture next year.
“We have got proposals, help in terms of financing, so we hope something can happen next year,” Fernandes said.
AirAsia said earlier this month that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with China Everbright Group and Henan Government Working Group to establish a low-cost carrier in China.
According to Fernandes, the Chinese venture with an estimated investment of $100 million, represented the final piece of the AirAsia puzzle after building a successful presence in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan.
AirAsia entered Chinese market in 2005. The low-cost airline and its long haul affiliate AirAsia X currently fly to 15 destinations in Chinese mainland, which makes it the largest foreign budget carrier operating in China.