Lion Air signs contract for more Boeing aircraft
Novan Iman Santosa, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 02/14/2012 9:04 PM
Indonesian no-frill airline Lion Air signed a contract on Tuesday to buy 230 units of the popular narrow-body aircraft Boeing 737 at the Singapore Airshow in Changi, as a follow up to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed in Bali on Nov. 18, 2011.
The contract was signed by Lion Air president director Rusdi Kirana and Boeing vice president of sales in Asia Pacific and India Dinesh A. Keskar, Lion Air said in a media statement sent to The Jakarta Post.
Indonesian air transportation director general Herry Bakti S. Gumay witnessed the contract signing.
The US$22.4 billion contract covers the purchase of 29 units of 737-900 ER and 201 737 MAX units. Lion will finance the purchase with the help of international commercial banks, the US Exim Bank, or other international non-bank financial institutions, the airline said in the statement.
Lion Air already has a contract to buy 178 units of 737-900 ER and currently operates 57 units of the aircraft. The airline expects the number to be 79 by the end of this year.
The first 737 MAX, the latest design development of the popular single-aisle aircraft, is expected to be delivered to Lion Air in 2017.
Launched as an answer to the re-engined Airbus A320neo, the 737 MAX will have the latest technology to ensure a higher fuel efficiency and a lower operational cost than the current 737 New Generation series.
The order backs Boeing’s competition with Airbus to offer more fuel-efficient aircraft amid soaring fuel prices.
Rusdi said that the Boeing 737 MAX was the best choice for Lion Air and the best airplane to serve its customers.
“We are pleased to be the first airline in Asia to operate the Boeing 737 MAX and become the main customer during the global launch of 737 MAX,” he said in the statement.
The new aircraft will be launched in 2017 with Southwest Airlines announcing on Dec. 13, 2011, that the US airline would be the launch customer for 737 MAX, with a firm order of 150 airplanes and 150 options.
Lion Air stirred the aviation world when signing the MoU in Bali with the largest commercial contract in aviation history.
US President Barrack Obama attended the MoU signing at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit. He lauded the MoU as it would secure more than 100,000 US jobs in the years to come.