March 18, 2013
Airbus today celebrated another landmark order for its new engine option narrowbody program with a record-setting deal with Indonesian carrier Lion Air.
The deal, coming just days after Airbus celebrated its 2,000th NEO order, also marks the first Airbus purchase for Lion Air, which until now has favored Boeing aircraft. The airline, notably, still has a major backlog with the U.S. manufacturer, with 201 737 MAX, 113 737-900ERs and 11 737-800 as well as five 787-8 scheduled for delivery, according to the Aviation Week Intelligence Network fleets database.
Lion Air is the world’s largest operator of the 737-900ER.
With the Airbus order, Lion Air now adds 109 A320NEOs, 65 A321NEOs and 60 current-model A320s to its backlog. “This landmark order will ensure that the Lion Air Group will continue its expansion with one of the most modern and advanced fleets in the world,” said Co-Founder and CEO Rusdi Kirana during a signing ceremony today in Paris attended by France’s President Francois Hollande.
Lion Air will take delivery of the aircraft between 2014 and 2026. The airline has not said what engines will power the Airbus fleets.
The order, the largest placed with Airbus, was not unexpected; in November, Aviation Week first reported that Rusdi was considering a NEO order.
Speaking to media after the Paris event, Rusdi said the Airbus fleet will be used to launch two subsidiaries next year, although he provided no specific details.
This Lion Air order comes as Airbus and Boeing battle for key orders across Asia and Europe. Last week, Airbus unveiled major deals with Lufthansa and Turkish Airways, and sources told Aviation Week that Ryanair is about to buy up to 165 CFM international-powered 737s from Boeing.