Malaysian carrier AirAsia announced last week that they have signed a joint venture agreement to launch a new Chinese start-up, AirAsia China. AirAsia representatives have hinted that the aircraft of choice for the new carrier would be Chinese manufactured COMAC C919.
AirAsia China is planned to be based in Zhengzhou, in the Henan Province of China, situated on the Yellow River. The venture is to run in partnership with the Everbright Group. The group already has operations in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India and the Philippines.
AirAsia CEO, Tony Fernandes added:
“This Chinese venture represents the final piece of the AirAsia puzzle. It closes the loop in the region.”
AirAsia executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun has said that they are working with electronics giant Huawei to create a ‘digital airline and smart airport to transform the way we fly’. Meranun says they are also exploring the COMAC C919, the Chinese twin jet to rival the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 Family.
Meranun added to his previous statement saying:
“China has been good to us and we want to give back in a big way, and this is just the start of (an) enduring partnership that will benefit both China and Malaysia.”
This statement could leave many to believe that the COMAC C919 could be chosen to strengthen the relationship between the two nations in this new venture. Time will tell if the C919 will prevail on top, or fail under the pressure of the American and European giants.