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Malaysia's AirAsia still with Airbus, no plans to buy Boeing planes

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Malaysian budget airline AirAsia Bhd is sticking with Airbus and has no plans currently to purchase Boeing aircraft, Group CEO Tony Fernandes said at a press briefing late on Thursday.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysian budget airline AirAsia Bhd is sticking with Airbus and has no plans currently to purchase Boeing aircraft, Group CEO Tony Fernandes said at a press briefing late on Thursday.

"Boeing is keen to have us as a customer...but right now we are still very much an Airbus customer," he told reporters.

To a question if he had plans to buy Boeing planes, Fernandes said "not at the moment".

Last month, Reuters reported that sources said AirAsia -Airbus' largest Asian customer - was set to confirm an order of wide-body jets from the European planemaker after Boeing tried to win the airline over and extend a lead in the lucrative long-haul market.

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On Thursday, the airline also announced the sale of its aircraft leasing operations to firms managed by BBAM Ltd, one of the world's largest aircraft portfolio managers, in a staggered deal that will see the budget carrier transfer ownership of up to 182 Airbus jets.

The deal, valued at $1.2 billion in the first phase, will help the airline pare down debt and return money to shareholders, as well as give it firepower to grow its business.

REUTERS