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Indonesian Carrier places plane order of $24 Billion to Airbus

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 18th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Marking a significant development for the European plane maker Airbus, a record order for $24 billion worth of new single-aisle jets from the Indonesian low-cost airline Lion Air has been announced. Lion Air is among the fastest-growing air travel markets in Asia that was previously dominated by American rival, Boeing. The Occasion marks the largest single order of Airbus jets, by value and number of planes to date.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - The order for 234 of the company's popular A320- and A321-series jets was announced by high-level executives of Airbus and Lion Air at a ceremony in Paris. The event was overseen by President François Hollande of France.

The event, which took place in the gilt halls of the Elysée Palace is a series of events planned by the French government aimed at promoting the manufacturing industry in France, which is struggling amid the economic downturn in Europe.
 
Rusdi Kirana, the travel entrepreneur who founded Lion Air with his brother Kusnan in 2000, said the landmark deal was the carrier's first order from Airbus and included 60 current-generation A320s as well as 174 of a forthcoming series of A320s and A321s that will be fitted with more fuel-efficient engines.

Deliveries of the first planes were expected to begin in 2014.

President Hollande said the volume of the aircraft order was a sign of "the vitality of the Indonesian economy" and held up Airbus as "an example of what we want to achieve across all of our industries" in France and elsewhere across Europe.

The contract, Hollande added, was expected to guarantee at least 5,000 European aerospace jobs over the next 10 years.

Many of the world's established airlines are continuing to order jets at a rapid pace trying to upgrade to more energy-efficient models amid stubbornly high fuel prices.

Lion Air's latest deal follows a flurry of jet orders announced last week, totaling more than $30 billion at list prices. Lufthansa, the German flag carrier, announced orders for more than 100 single-aisle and wide-body planes from both Airbus and Boeing, while Turkish Airlines said it would purchase up to 117 Airbus single-aisle planes.

Southeast Asia is experiencing a boom in air traffic demand as higher incomes give rise to a growing middle class. Air travel demand for the past five years in the Indonesian archipelago alone has grown at three times the average six percent pace of annual gross domestic product.

Air safety experts are concerned that the infrastructure and regulatory oversight in the country have been unable to keep pace with the expansion. The European Union, for example, maintains a list of what it says are unsafe airlines, clearing only a handful of Indonesian carriers - including the flag carrier Garuda Indonesia - to operate in its skies.

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