Lion continues rapid growth with 40-plane order

Indonesia’s Lion Group, which hit the headlines in recent years for placing huge aircraft orders, has continued its fast-paced expansion with another major deal.

The company has penned a US$1 billion purchase agreement with European turboprop manufacturer ATR for 40 new 72-600 aircraft. This takes the group’s total outstanding orders with ATR to 100 aircraft, and makes Lion the company’s largest airline customer.

Indonesia's Wings Air will operate many of the new ATR 72-600s
Indonesia’s Wings Air will operate many of the new ATR 72-600s

The short-range turboprops will be utilised by Lion’s subsidiaries, Wings Air, Malindo Air and Thai Lion Air, to expand their range of domestic and regional services.

“These modern and fuel-efficient aircraft will meet the future growth of the Lion Group airlines,” said Rusdi Kirana, chairman of the Lion Group.

“The ATR -600 aircraft are very competitive, as they enable us to ensure a high frequency service. With these new generation airplanes in our fleet, the Lion Group will continue to contribute to the economic development in Indonesia, Malaysia and Asia, including remote regions as well as tourist driven markets such as Bali, Java, Kalimantan and Sumatra,” he added.

Indonesia-based Wings Air currently operates a fleet of 32 ATR aircraft, while 10 are in service with Malaysia’s Malindo Air and one with Thailand’s Thai Lion Air.

Deliveries of the 40 new aircraft will start in 2017 and run into 2019.

“Lion Air has become our largest customer among airlines, and has been successfully operating ATR 72s for five years. We are honoured to receive this outstanding new order, which is an historical ATR milestone, and we thank the Lion Group for their continued strong commitment to our… aircraft,” said ATR’s CEO, Patrick de Castelbajac.

The 40-aircraft deal is the latest in a series of major orders for Lion. In 2011 the group purchased 230 Boeing 737s, and followed this up in 2013 with a deal for 234 Airbus A320 aircraft.

For ATR, the order strengthens its presence in the Asia Pacific; the region has accounted for nearly 40% of the company’s total sales of ATR -600 series aircraft.

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