September 26, 2013
Indonesia’s Lion Air is considering a “double-digit” order of Bombardier CS300 aircraft, and could make a decision by the end of this year.
Both Lion and Bombardier have confirmed that talks are being held about an order. A Lion spokesman tells Aviation Week that no purchase decision has been made, and the carrier will consider factors such as pricing, the level of customer support being offered, and whether export financing can be arranged. Lion also wants more information on whether the aircraft will meet fuel efficiency and other specifications.
However, Lion is “interested in [the CSeries] because we think it is a good aircraft,” and the airline is “very impressed with what [Bombardier] has said about fuel efficiency,” says the spokesman.
Some media reports state that an order of up to 160 aircraft is likely, however the Lion spokesman stresses that it would be in the double digits. This obviously covers a broad range, and how significant this would be for Bombardier’s CSeries backlog will depend on whether the number is closer to 10 or 99.
The CS300 would potentially be used on long, thin routes that do not have enough traffic for a Boeing 737, the spokesman says. Indonesia is a very large country, so this would include both domestic and international flights. The aircraft would also fill a size gap in the Lion fleet, between its ATR 72 turboprops and Boeing 737-800s and -900ERs.
Lion already has more than 500 aircraft in its orderbook, most notably an order for 230 737-family aircraft from Boeing and 234 Airbus A320 family aircraft. It is due to take delivery of its 100th 737 in November.
The carrier is constructing a new aircraft maintenance facility on the island of Batam to help meet its increasing MRO demand. If a CSeries fleet reached critical mass, Lion would look to perform heavy maintenance on the aircraft in Indonesia, the spokesman says.