February 2, 2018 / 6:56 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-AirAsia CEO says looking at Boeing 787 for AirAsia X fleet growth

* CEO Fernandes says also keen on buying more Airbus A321neo

* AirAsia is largest operator of Airbus A320 jets (Adds quote, background)

MANILA, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Budget airline group AirAsia is looking at buying Boeing 787s to expand the fleet of its long-haul arm AirAsia X, Chief Executive Tony Fernandes said on Friday.

"AirAsia X will need more planes. We are now looking at (Airbus) 330 (and) 350s, (Boeing) 787," Fernandes told reporters on the sidelines of a business forum in Manila.

The AirAsia group, which has already ordered A330s and A350s, has been exclusively linked to Airbus planes but industry experts say Boeing 787s could fit into its long-haul operations.

Fernandes said the group was also keen on buying more of Airbus A321neo long-range jets after purchasing 100 of them. "We will certainly need more going forward," he said.

AirAsia, which flies close to 200 airplanes and is the largest operator of Airbus's best-selling A320 jet, has airlines in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Japan and plans to expand into China and Vietnam.

Fernandes said last month that the group plans to add around 30 jets to its airline affiliates across Asia this year amid strong demand growth. (Reporting by Karen Lema; Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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