Airbus has reportedly found new buyers for six aircraft from its A320neo family after major customer AirAsia cancelled its orders in light of COVID-19.
While undelivered and cancelled aircraft orders have become something of the norm in the post-COVID aviation environment, the case of tensions between Airbus and AirAsia became unusually public in April when Airbus publicly invited tenders for six of the airline’s orders that it had failed to take delivery of.
The announcement by Airbus came after AirAsia said it would stop taking deliveries of all Airbus jets this year and review its remaining orders.
AirAsia’s relations with Airbus were further clouded when it was drawn into an Airbus bribery case before being cleared by local investigators, according to industry insiders.
AirAsia co-founders denied any wrongdoing in a sports sponsorship deal cited in a wider Airbus bribery settlement with prosecutors in January.
The European source said that despite the unusually public quarrel, AirAsia remained an important partner for Airbus.
Sources have now confirmed that Airbus has officially found new homes for all six of the would-be AirAsia jets, the last of which is being delivered this month.
Airbus has been steadily increasing deliveries as it strikes deals with airlines to reschedule deliveries or store jets.
The European planemaker announced last month that it had reduced an overhang that it had been unable to deliver during the crisis by 10 units to 135 jets.
The redeployment of AirAsia orders is expected to trim the surplus further as deliveries top output in November.
Airbus is seeing strong demand, relative to the rest of the battered sector, for its A321neo jet, and the aircraft has broadly held its value, the European source said. It is sticking with plans to increase output of the single-aisle jets.
In contrast, according to the UK-based consultancy IBA Group, all aircraft have lost some value during the COVID-19 crisis but the A321neo is trading around 5 per cent below its inherent value.