Asiana Orders 25 Airbus A321neo Aircraft for $2.8 Billion Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Asiana Orders 25 Airbus A321neo Aircraft for $2.8 Billion

Asiana Airlines said the fuel-efficient planes with a capacity for 180 passengers would help it to meet rising regional demand, especially from China.

PARIS - Asiana has placed a $2.8 billion order for 25 Airbus A321neo aircraft, the South Korean airline and the European group said Wednesday.

“With the A321neo we will be able to look forward to even greater levels of efficiency, with a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and increased flying range," Asiana CEO Kim Soo Cheon was quoted as saying in a statement from Airbus.

Asiana Airlines said the fuel-efficient planes with a capacity for 180 passengers -- worth a catalogue price total of $3.1 billion -- would help it to meet rising regional demand, especially from China.

South Korea's second-largest carrier said the planes would be delivered between 2019 and 2025.

Asiana said the order would complete the modernisation of its overall fleet, following plans to introduce four A380 superjumbo jets by 2016 in addition to two that have already been delivered, followed by 30 midsize A350s between 2017 and 2025.

The new aircraft will replace the company's ageing A321-200s currently used on routes into China and Southeast Asia.

Compared with its bigger domestic rival, Korean Air, Asiana has focused on short-haul routes.

The investment plan came as airline operators seek to capitalise on soaring demand from China's increasingly affluent population and attract more Asian passengers travelling to the United States and Europe.

On Wednesday Asiana also reported a net profit of 62.7 billion won ($57 million, 50.3 million euros) for 2014, a turnaround from a loss of 114.7 billion won a year ago, helped by the weak yen and falling oil prices.

It posted an operating profit of 98 billion won, compared with a loss of 11.2 billion won a year earlier. Annual sales last year rose 2.0 percent year-on-year to 5.84 trillion won.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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